Sunday, September 27, 2009
It’s been many years since I watched Jerry Maguire. I figure the last time I caught that movie must have been around the time Dina and I had just got engaged, which certainly provided a different frame of reference for that kind of movie. We no doubt applied the lines “You complete me” and “You had me at hello” personally with all of the accompanying feelings of butterflies in the stomach that you get in those spring days of love.
However for some reason I have been bumping into Jerry Maguire a lot in the past week. I used the infamous “Show me the money” clip when I was speaking last weekend and now for the last 2 days I keep catching different parts of the movie as it is in heavy rotation on TBS. Yesterday I was ironing some shirts for work, when I caught the last part of the movie, the part where most of the romantic elements come together. I couldn’t help thinking of how I could have never imagined in my bachelor days that my future would include not only being married, but spending a Saturday afternoon ironing shirts while watching Jerry Maguire (alone by the way, which adds a bit more a pathetic spin to the scene.) So I watched it and it was certainly better than the infomercials and reruns on the other channels and when I was done I put on one of those freshly ironed shirts and went to work.
This morning as I was trying to wake up I turned on the TV at 7 a.m. and low and behold Jerry Maguire was on yet again. But this time I was catching the story a bit earlier into it than yesterday. I was picking up on the story just after Jerry left his job with the talent agency to step out on his own and follow his heart as a solo talent agent.
What follows is that Jerry goes to meet with an upcoming football player who will be his biggest client if he can close the deal, a potential number one draft pick. If he can land this client his career is set. It’s kind of a big deal because this guy is one of two sports players that he is courting and certainly the most promising of the two financially. He meets with the young football player’s father, rehearsing his sales pitch as he is walking into the guy’s living room. Jerry knows that everything will rest on this one meeting and his ability to talk the father into keeping Jerry as his son’s agent even though he has left the larger tallent agency. Surprisingly the meeting is very short. The father tells Jerry that he made up his mind that if Jerry showed up he would keep him as his son’s agent. The father then tell Maguire that he doesn’t believe in signing contracts but that his hand shake is stronger than oak. And with that he offers his hand. Jerry shakes his hand and then hugs him and then just about loses it because he is so excited. This was tremendous news!
The next scene shows a very happy Jerry driving down the highway elated at the success of his deal. He did it! This kid is going to be his bread and butter! All the thoughts of self-doubt are just trailing in the wake behind his car. Maybe he wasn’t completely crazy to follow his heart and leave the talent agency after all. He’s not a looser! He is going to make it and maybe even make it bigger than he had ever dreamed!
So there he is celebrating in the car scanning through songs on the radio for something that might capture the emotion of the moment. He needs a song, and not just any old song will do. He tries a bit of a Rolling Stones song. No that’s not it. After a brief pause on “Just Call Me Angel of the Morning” and a lesser-known country tune he finally lands on “Free Falling” by Tom Petty. That’s the song! He sings it like an anthem giddy with delight over closing the deal, “Yeah I’m freeeee!”… “Free fallin’!”
Maybe it’s my place in life or maybe because I saw the other part of the movie yesterday and know what really happens next, that he’s not going to be this kid’s agent after all because he didn’t get the father to sign a contract and his rival is going to scoop him up behind his back, but this scene on the highway is just brilliant! Jerry is singing “Free Falling” obviously identifying with the free part of the chorus but I know, because I saw the other part of the movie yesterday, that shortly he will be identifying with the falling part.
It’s scary business following your heart, stepping out, leaving your place of comfort and security. Sometimes it feels like freedom and sometimes it feels like falling but most of the time it’s a mixture of both. Six months ago Dina and I made a decision to step out and do some things we feel God put in our hearts. The decision involves leaving our jobs, our home, and breaking the rhythm of a way of life that we have come to really enjoy and moving across a really big lake to start a new chapter. Back in June I felt compelled to buy 3 Tom Petty CDs because they seemed to be the songs running through my mind. They seemed like they would provide the right kind of soundtrack to this season in our lives with songs like Running Down a Dream, Learning to Fly, I Won’t Back Down, and most of all Free Falling. As I watched Jerry Maguire this morning I couldn’t help but connect with that scene of Jerry driving down the road singing, celebrating, not really having a clue what turns await him in the story he’s living in.