Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

Note: I'm posting this because I am feeling a little overly attached to this version of an article I wrote for Seek magazine. I've been asked to revise it significantly, which part of me realizes will improve it beyond all recognition, and part of me is just fixating on the fact that it will be changed beyond all recognition.

I really try to keep my attachment in check . . . but sometimes, I act just like a moody artist. I figured it would be somewhat consoling to know that the article was "getting out there" (at least, to the four people who read my blog), and that would help me feel a little bit better about starting over again. Without further ado, I give you a film review.


A picture of poverty
Recent film prompts discussion of homelessness

Chris Gardner met his father for the first time at the age of 28. He saw him only one other time: at his father’s funeral. So when he had a son of his own, he was determined to stay in Chris Jr.’s life—no matter what.

Starring Will Smith, the 2006 film “The Pursuit of Happyness” brings Gardner’s story to light. The movie chronicles this father’s struggle to provide for his son without his wife, without a steady job, and (many times) without a place to call home.

On an interpersonal level, “The Pursuit of Happyness” offers a beautiful example of a father’s commitment to his child, and of nurturing care in desperate circumstances. But it is also a detailed look at the economics of poverty.Gardner wasn’t always homeless. In fact, at the beginning of the film, he and his wife and son share an apartment with running water, electricity, and the basic comforts of late 20th-century life in San Francisco. Always clean-shaven and respectably clad in a suit and tie, Gardner blends in with the middle class. But for him, as it is for so many people in our communities and in our churches, homelessness was only a paycheck away.

“The Pursuit of Happyness” is an important reminder that many of the people we see sleeping on park benches and dining at soup kitchens are not so different from us as we might think: they used to have jobs, homes, and families just like ours. No one can ever be 100 percent poverty-proof. Given the right circumstances, it could happen to anyone.

As portrayed in the film, Gardner’s pursuit of happiness was a fight for the right to work, to earn money to provide for his son. All he really wanted, all he struggled for, was a steady job that would enable him to have a permanent address, a place where his son could eat and sleep in safety—a home.

There are millions of people in our own neighborhoods and overseas who, like Gardner, are caught in poverty, without a place to sleep or the means to provide for their families. God’s love compels us to befriend, feed, clothe, and give shelter to all who need it. And when we do, Scripture reminds us, it’s all for Jesus.


Dulcimer said...

Update: I'm feeling much better about the potential changes to the article (thanks to a dinnertime conversation with Mr. Incredible, that is). I'm glad I posted this version here, but I'm also glad that the final version will probably be even better! :)

Christie said...

will the final version be published in seek?

looking forward to seeing u tonight

Dulcimer said...

Yup, it will. And I promise, it'll be better. Don't know why I got so attached to this version. It was such a good movie; maybe that's why.


See you tonight!