Sighs That Escape: When This World Isn't Our True Home

Hebrews 11 and Revelation 21 has been on my mind. Both passages deal with the Christian belief that this world is not our true home, that we're merely passing through, and that Heaven -- and the new earth that it will support (Rev 21:1) -- is the highest reality and our true home.

And somehow this led me to the film Labor Day with Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, which was released in theaters almost a year ago, on January 31, 2014.

I know, random, right?

It's actually a powerful movie. It's not "Christian" (i.e. not made by a Christian studio or by Christians, as far as I know), but it contains general truths in it that I found inspiring and compatible/edifying to my faith.

The movie is about an escaped convict named Frank (Josh Brolin) who finds shelter (as he is on the run) with a single mom and her son. Here's an excerpt from my original review of it from when I saw it in theaters:

"...in the background of their little island of happiness [the single mother's home where Frank is hiding], Frank himself becomes symbolic of goals that every person on earth is chasing: joy, peace, fulfillment, a place to call home, a state of fixed security — happiness.

"In this film, the characters experience these things at certain moments, yet there is a constant tension of finiteness. He’s an escaped convict on the run, just passing through, seeking shelter temporarily. How could this happiness ever last? The story of Frank’s arrival becomes a parable.

"From a Biblical perspective, all of the joys and pleasures of this world — even the wholesome ones like raising a family, going to baseball games, celebrating birthdays — are fleeting sighs that escape into the sky the moment we exhale. Our hearts are not supposed to be invested wholly in finding happiness in this world because we were not made for this world. We are citizens of a heavenly city. In fact, Hebrews 11 calls us “strangers and pilgrims” on this earth.

"I doubt the filmmakers intended to create such a powerful sermon illustration with this film, but they did, whether they wanted to or not."

You can read the full review here (which includes parental guidance info; the film has some content that's not family-friendly and might be too depressing for some people).

It's amazing to find inspiration in unexpected places -- even movies that we would deem "secular." It just shows how the yearning for true joy, for permanence, for Heaven, has been written on everyone's heart.