Viola Davis’s acceptance speech at the Oscars was the most outstanding I have heard.
“We are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” ~Viola Davis
Hollywood has a reputation of narcissistic, vain-glory and idolatry of self. But Viola Davis brought the mind-set back to center.
Story has been vital to the life of any civilization. It preserves who we are as people. It preserves the legacy of real heroes. Not the fantasized ones who, in caped, secret superpowers, leap over buildings and crush cars with their bare hands. But those who, with bare human hands, transverse tragedies with prayer and compassion for others. The real people like Norma Jean, Katherine Johnson, George Washington Carver and Helen Roseveare (a movie has not yet been made about Helen but, books are written).
Unheard stories of those who suffered personal loss, and who took a backseat in history, but who stood for something that changed the lives of those around them.
“Exhume those bodies, exhume those stories. The stories of people who dreamed big…people who fell in love and lost” ~Viola Davis
We need to hear the stories of those who suffered for righteousness. We need to hear the stories of those who survived and found strength using their pen, their passions and stood strong in their convictions. Those who would not bow to the god of politically correct rhetoric. We need to hear the lessons from those stories.
We are also here to create our own story of integrity during our trials. Stories about faithfulness in failure and mercy when we see those who lament. We must learn to lament from others and apply those teachings in a way that those who come behind us are encouraged to endure.
We don’t have the choice, in what life throws at us, but we can choose the way we respond. We can choose the legacy we leave behind.
Viola Davis chose a speech that changed the focal point from her glory to thankfulness for those who have gone before us. In it, she created a legacy for herself. One not only of an amazing actress, but one of a woman who has chosen to have a legacy of integrity.
Christ knew the importance of story. He never told his own story. He lived His story. And He allowed others to tell His story to the next generation.
We hide our stories because we think our broken places are a place of shame, instead of strength. Because we do not yet know the end of the story we think we are failures. But as long as we live we will not know how our stories will affect the next generation or the generations to come.
“then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.” Ecclesiastes 8:17
It is up to us, to make the best choices we can, using the broken life that this world gives, to establish hope and encouragement for those who come behind us.
It is up to God, to develop our stories in a way that the next generation will exhume, and interpret them in a way that will give them strength to endure.
Thank you, Viola Davis, for your gift of telling the stories of those who now rest from their trails.
Thank you, my friends and fellow writers, for being brave to share the stories of your life. May the next generation be inspired to send our stories and theirs forward.
What kind of legacy are you leaving for the next generation? What story do you want them to exhume from your life when you are gone?
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