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We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

You enter a dark movie theater and take a seat. The curtain rises and the screen comes to life. For the next two hours you will watch a motion-picture depiction of reality.

Someone has written a script, but the limitations of the medium have dictated certain things. Let’s say the story covers a span of three years; the movie will run 120 minutes. Obviously, much will be omitted from the story. The events will be abbreviated, as will the characters. People will be depicted, but the movie will fail to capture the full, rich complexity of real life. The best characterizations will remain caricatures, compared to reality, and the sequence of events as the movie relates them will, of necessity, be distilled to simpler form.

The best of screenplays falls far short of the real story.

Even so, you watch the movie, captivated by spectacular effects, yet scarcely aware of them. You’re so engrossed in the production that you’re not distracted by the mechanics of simulating reality. If it’s a good story, told well, it will touch your emotions and provoke reflection. You will not be quite the same when, finally, the closing credits begin to roll.

Then, as the lights brighten and you step through the exit, you enter what Hollywood has spent millions characterizing and you have just spent two hours escaping: reality.

It will be similar when we exit this life. We will look back on time as a griping and convincing drama, but it will suddenly feel flat and simplified in the true and eternal light of day.

Copyright © 2008 by James P. Long | Faith and Imagination