Have you seen the Chris Pratt speech that went viral recently?
The 39-year-old American actor is the winner of this year’s MTV Generation Award, which acknowledges significant contributions to film and television. You may know him from the sit-com Parks and Recreation, or blockbuster films like Guardians of the Galaxy and most recently, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Pratt’s acceptance speech has been viewed over 40 million times on Facebook. Titled “9 Rules to Good Living”, Pratt – an outspoken Christian – delivered a speech that was not what you might expect to hear in an MTV program. Yet it’s refreshing to hear someone accept responsibility as an elder in good humour, especially someone who has millions of teenagers and young adults as fans of his movies.
What struck me was that though he was speaking to a large audience at the award show, and later to the world through social media, Pratt seemed to be aware of the individual in the crowd. He was speaking to the one person who might have needed to hear it.
His first word of advice: “Breathe. If not you’ll suffocate.” Infallible on more than a physiological level. Life is beautiful but it is also complex and we deal with a lot of challenges: Relationship problems. Family problems. Work problems. People problems.
Some days, we tread through valleys and other days we are on top of the mountains. We learn to be quiet by the waters so we can study our reflections. And once in a while we pause in wonder of even just a cloudless night, or a mesmerising evening sky – wondering at the awe and mystery of life.
Nobody is perfect.
It sounded like the advice we might expect to hear from a favourite uncle – or advice we wished an older adult would give us.
And no matter how old we are, or how far we think we’ve gone, we need guidance to go further than where we’re at now. The heart of the message: “Nobody is perfect. People will tell you that you are perfect just the way that you are, you are not! You are imperfect.”
Nobody is perfect. It’s not a popular message but it may be the most liberating thing we need to hear. When we accept that we are imperfect, we find congruence with the reality of life and with what we feel in our hearts – it’s not perfect. Then it can go two ways – we can be held hostage by the futility of growth or be fired up by the possibility of it.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer, treating the repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. We, too, have broken parts that need mending. And that’s part of our journey towards becoming who we were meant to be.
“And grace is a gift.”
What is grace? Grace is found in the breath in us, in the awe we feel deep in our souls, in the golden lacquer that glides over our past mending us whole – in the freedom to have a future. It is a gift from God.
“And like the freedom we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.”
Freedom is not free: Not a country’s freedom, or a soul’s peace. How often do we feel the turmoil of desires battling within us, the upheaval screaming for a better future? There’s an answer to that deepest cry. There is a God in Heaven who cares for us and has collected our every tear. Maybe you’ve felt it too.
His response to us comes as grace in the form of a Saviour – the person we’ve been looking for all our lives. His name is Jesus Christ and His forgiveness runs along the fault lines of our human imperfection, meeting us where we fail and need.
So breathe, and ask God for grace today.