Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Points of Impact

"The moment of impact. The moment of impact proves potential for change. Has ripple effects far beyond what we can predict.Sending some particles crashing together. Making them closer than before. While sending others spinning off into great ventures. Landing them where you've never thought you've found them. That's the big thing about moments like these. You can't, no matter how hard you try, controlling how it's gonna affect you. You just gotta let the colliding parts go where they may. And wait. For the next collision."

Leo and Paige's Wedding, and, Source
This past weekend I received in my mailbox The Vow from the glorious Netflix. (Don't judge. I like sappy movies. Get over it. Also, Channing Tatum is in it.) One of the big themes in this movie is "points of impact."

Basically, the idea that there are certain moments in your life that define you and make you who you are.

In the movie, some of these moments are pretty obvious. The moment the characters Leo and Paige meet, when they get married, when Paige makes amends with her father, and of course the moment of the car accident. If you would like a summary of the movie go to the IMDB website.

"My theory is that these moments of impact... that these flashes of reality that turn us upside down . . . change us."

Paige waking up after the crash and, Source
It got me to thinking about major moments in a persons life. What makes a "moment of impact?"

I remember once PM2 did a sermon about the happiest moments of a persons life. Many of these I feel would also be "moments of impact." He listed several such as graduations, weddings, births, etc. A lot of church workers would probably say the day they were ordained or commissioned or something would be a defining moment.

As I thought about it, none of these fit the idea of an impactful moment. Not that they weren't important - they were. But I can't sit here and say "the day I graduated college was the happiest day of my life." Honestly, while it was nice and it was a good day, I had been out of school for a year working full time on internship and felt as though I had already graduated. I also was heading to Indiana the next day to visit family.

It was the same with the day I got commissioned (which was about the same time as graduation. It's basically the day they say "you're an official church worker person! Yay!"). I had already been working full time at that church, only now I was going to get paid more because I wasn't a student any longer and the label "intern" would be removed from my business cards.

I haven't gotten married or had a baby and I haven't had a spouse lose their memory - so obviously those wouldn't make the list of  "moments of impact."

So... what exactly would be a moment of impact?

It's a harder question than you would like it would be. If there was a single moment in your life that changed you - you would think that it would come to your mind immediately. Apparently not.

When I teach confirmation class, at the end our 7th grade students have to write an essay about what their faith in Jesus means to them. To help them brainstorm ideas, I tell them to talk about important moments in their faith life. Baptism, a special moment at camp, a particular song or lesson that has touched them, etc. They always seem to struggle with this exercise.

Now I know why.

I'm 26 and I can't even think of any, how can I expect 12 year olds to?

Some of them can do it just fine, others struggle. Or I listen to people's stories about their lives and they can pinpoint certain moments that shaped them. Why can't I do that?

"The truth is we're the sum of all the moments we've experiences with all the people we've ever known . . . and these moments become our history."

Paige trying to put the pieces together and, source.
I love this part of the "moments of impact" theory. Because as I thought about it, so many times it's not a few single moments that create who I am. It's a bunch of tiny ones.

I can't sit here and pinpoint the moment I knew certain people were my best friends for life.

Another example would be the fact that I break. There wasn't one moment where I realized I was different, or when I suddenly came to peace with it. It just happened over the years bit by bit.

There have been moments in my faith that have had impact on me, but how it's shaped who I am has also been a gradual journey over time.

I can't sit here and say "this is the most important person in my life" because every person has been important.

"So that's my theory. That these moments of impact define who we are."

Paige toward the end of the movie when she's figuring out who she is, and, source.
As I was going through all of this in my mind, I also realized - I might not even know which moments were "the moment" that changed everything. I might not know until much later in life. 

Heck - there are probably a million "points of impact" that are still coming my way. Which is pretty cool when you think about it. I'm 26, and while that's not a baby, it's still young. It's awesome to think about how many special and life changing moments are ahead of me.

I'm sure the more I think about it, I'll be able to find some "points of impact" that I've experienced. There are a couple that come to mind, but none that I'll share here in public. Or it simply isn't the right time to.Yet, it's comforting to know that more is still to come.

So what about you? Do you agree with the moments of impact theory? Do you have any defining moments in your life? Any ideas of what's coming ahead? Does it make you excited? Sad? Scared?

Also - does anyone else think it's totally awesome that the movie takes place in Chicago and they get married at the Art Institute? It's awesome. Just saying.


  1. I feel like I might have said this previously, but I'll say it again anyhow. I have always HATED those kinds of projects I had to do growing up, making a "timeline" of the important moments in my life. For one thing, I never knew what to put because I didn't feel like there were a ton of defining moments in my life. Now I might say things like getting my master's degree and getting married, but when I was in grade school I hadn't had very many "milestones." Secondly, the things I and my classmates did put, like starting school, siblings being born, etc. didn't necessarily have an important impact on our lives. I feel like when people actually have defining, life-changing moments or epiphanies, they might not be connected to any specific "event" that you could plot on a timeline. And more often, like you said, the things that have made me who I am are things that happened over time, lessons I've learned through repeated experience, world views crafted from writing and reflection. A list of things that have happened to me wouldn't tell you much about what kind of person I am.

    1. Exactly. I think maybe as we get older we might be able to define some of these moments better, but for the most part it's just life experience. Several moments that come together that shape us and mold us.

  2. I don't think those stereotypical moments are truly when the "moments of impact" actually happen. For instance, my wedding day isn't a moment of impact the way most people would expect- but the night I met that guy that I would later marry *was* a moment of impact. Sometimes it's those tiny, seemingly unimportant introductions at a high school football game that shape your whole life rather than the big milestones that come as a result. That's why I think it's often hard to spot the impact moments, because you have to have developed some hindsight.

    1. I agree. I think one thing we need to realize is that if we do have a defining moment, it may not be a "stereotypical" moment. Like the day you met your spouse vs. the day you got married. And yeah, I think so much of it is hindsight. In that moment, we may or may not realize how impactful it was until much much much later in life when we see the results.

    2. Also, I don't think I know you yet. Welcome to the blog!!!! Happy to have you here. :) Checking yours out right now.

    3. Thanks for the follow :) I found your blog through 20sb, really enjoyed your post.

    4. Thanks so much! And I love 20sb. Probably one of the best things I've ever done for my blog. EVER.

  3. I think this is a very interesting theory. While I could definitely get behind it, I also struggle when I try to identify specific "points of impact" that defined my life. There are a few things that come to mind. The day I met the guy who became my stepdad. Graduating college. The day I was accepted to grad school. But nothing completely flipped my life upside-down in a single moment...they were just points in a sequence of events that gradually made me who I am today. Very interesting post!

    1. And I think that those "life has completely changed and turned up on its head" moments are also few and far between. I guess that's the problem with comparing life to movies. These moments happen at least five times in movies in a matter of 2 hours. In real life... we might get a couple in the span of a few decades. And when they do - we might not realize it.


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