Lately I’ve been drawn into watching epic movies–those movies that show adventure, courage, drama, perseverance, and good verses evil. Every January for the last couple of years. I have my annual viewing of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Even before I did that, I watched the movies 13 HOURS and STAR WARS ROGUE ONE. What is it about these movies that moves me so much, whether fictional or true? What tugs at people’s hearts to keep going to the theater to see these films? Star Wars Rogue One just won the 4th weekend in a row at the box office. That tells us something about our world and what people might be wishing for in their life.
I know why I take in these movies more than once. I bet that my reasons are the same as others. These movies show us characters that often have grueling and treacherous roads to take. They are called to sacrifice of themselves. Some show us their vulnerability in their struggles, like Frodo and Sam, but they keep going. Courage, perseverance, faith and hope are given to us in these movies and that inspires us. In all of the films that I mentioned, there is also a group of people banding together for common purposes of destroying evil. Unlikely friendships and allies are displayed for us. True camaraderie and looking out for the other is demonstrated in such deep ways.
In THE RETURN OF THE KING, the dwarf Gimli says he never thought he would be fighting alongside Legolas, an elf. (There had been unspoken enmity between these types of creatures.) Legolas replies, “How about fighting alongside a friend?” To which Gimli says, “That I could do.” In STAR WARS ROGUE ONE, a daughter of the Death Star plans maker, a defector pilot of the Empire and a Rebel intelligence officer all unite with others to get those infamous plans to the rebels. They only meet up briefly but put their lives in each other’s hands to do the right thing. They become allies.
Allies. Such a beautiful word. Seemingly can be hard to find in our world of individuality. The dictionary defines it in these words: “a person, group, or nation that is associated with others for some common cause or purpose”, “a person or someone who associates or cooperates with another, a supporter”
Either definition shows us that people who share common purposes, goals, values, likes and dislikes, can all be our allies. I’ve been thinking about that lately in my friendships and in those people with whom I come into contact. I have allies and want to know in this very dark and often frustrating world that there are people like me, who care about the condition of our nation, who care about loving God with all their heart, who care about His kingdom, who want to see evil overcome, who love others.
I am finding those people little by little. I have close girlfriends whom I value much and love the commonness that they share with me–deep women who love their God and love their families. I love the uniqueness of the ways in which they are lights to others, whether it is helping someone with a ride, bringing food over to someone who has lost a loved one, sharing their financial resources with many in need. I love that some of them are intercessors and petition God for His will, that others are committed to knowing the Word inside out, that others share constant joy and encouragement to whomever they meet. I love my allied family members who not only lead others in their churches but take part in community events that stand for what they believe. But there are more…
I learned firsthand yesterday again about those people that actually are my allies. I may not know about them being that because I don’t always venture to find out. For example, it is easy in a big church to just go and not really talk or engage with others. Sometimes the chatter with folks at church is what I call the “normal” talk of niceties. People ask simply about the weather or some football game. I’m sure you can relate. Yesterday, I sat near a lady whom I’ve really not had a sit down conversation with since we both went on a mission trip 13 years ago. I know that sounds crazy but in a big church, you don’t always run into the same people. Since we sat right by each other, I opened up the dialogue and asked more about her family and herself and what is going on in her life. What ensued was the sweetest and most heartfelt chat between us. I found another ally. It made me realize how we make all kinds of assumptions of people we don’t really know, but then when we get down to the nitty gritty, we can find that we view ways of living in a similar way. I saw the same rooted faith in her as what I profess and found it refreshing.
It didn’t stop there. After church I ran to Target to get a few needed items and ran into another guy from my church. He is a fellow musician and we hadn’t chatted in a while either. Standing in the aisle at Target I heard about all the ways in which he was giving of himself to churches through music. Lots of hours he volunteers. It seemed he possessed a great deal of joy doing it. Another ally. They are all over if we take the time to learn something about others. Granted there are people who we definitely don’t align with, but when we want to walk and do right, we can know that there are still others wanting the same thing. For those of us desiring a road close to God, there are still others exhibiting that same passion, even if they are quieter about it.
I’ll be honest, as an introvert, I don’t have a high need for tons of friendships. I love the ones that I have and so don’t always meet new people or spend time finding out about people that are casual acquaintances. But what I have found every single time that either God has placed someone in my path, or where I’ve felt nudged to start up a conversation, He always brings something super good or encouraging out of it. EVERY TIME. He shows me that I need others, that I need allies. You do too, friend. Good allies exist. To be a light in this world, I cannot do it alone. I need you. You need me. We need others.
I hope that maybe today, you will have a moment where you take the time to make new allies. Perhaps it will be speaking with the other mom who sits near you waiting for a sports practice to get done. Maybe it will be the repair man who comes to your house to fix your furnace. Maybe it’s the person at church who always sits two pews ahead of you, like clockwork. Maybe it’s a cousin who you have never really gotten to know. Might be the Vet tech who always makes you feel at ease dropping off your dog or cat. The key is to start the conversation. Then to test it out with some question that asks about something they value. Then boom, suddenly you have that commonality. You may find those opposed to you as well. I have found plenty of those people too. If that is the case, treat them kindly and move on.
The allies we discover are so worth it. To know that you are not alone and that others think the same way as you, though they may be quiet, is a true gift. Bring on the allies!