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I Want to Be Jerry Maguire

Jerry MaguireRemember that scene in Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise stays up all night writing a mission statement that, in a moment of personal genius and self-actualization, inspires himself and others? He writes:

I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened… A night like this one doesn't come along very often. I seized it… Suddenly, I was my father's son again… It was the me I always wanted to be.

It's one of those rare movie moments that we artists dream of. We imagine some kind of mystical, kairos point in time in which we create something amazing — a manifesto, a piece of art, a song, a poem — that will make the world a better place and change the lives of those around us.

Some of us (myself included) plan on these moments. We long for them. Like a naive, teenage girl waiting to be asked out by her high school crush, we wait patiently for a moment that never arrives.

Let me be honest: I love this part of the movie. Jerry takes a risk. He steps out on the edge, risking everything he has for what he knows to be good and true. It is pretty inspiring.

I want to be that guy.

But I often forget about the part where he gets fired for writing that inspiring mission statement. I forget about how he nearly goes bankrupt as he pursues his ideal of a "dream job." I gloss over how much he has to struggle to really earn those words he casually typed onto a computer screen (cleverly entitled "The Things We Think and Do Not Say").

That's not to say that we shouldn't pursue our dreams. I love the idea that God has given each of us a dream that we need to pursue. It's just that I have an easier time imagining pursuing my dreams with abandon than I do remembering the cost of them.

Not to mention that it's just a movie.

In the real world (and even in Jerry Maguire's world, if you watch the rest of the movie), dreams are realized through hard work. Not one late night of inspiration. But long, hard days of work. Of putting your hand to the plow and not looking back. Day after day, week after week, and year after year.

Real dreams take work. You can't create inspiration in the middle of the night on a whim, but you can certainly hunt it down and actively seek it out. That's the real work of a dreamer.

So, yeah, I want to be Jerry Maguire. But then again, I don't.