August 10, 2011 // Uncategorized

Salt in the most unusual places

Last week, I had the fortunate opportunity to travel with seven of my children and my husband to Los Angeles to visit my oldest son, who is now living and working in Hollywood.

When people find out David has moved to Hollywood they sometimes act a little surprised.  Some have sarcastically commented, “Well, how’s that going?” or even, “I would ‘never’ go out there, Godforsaken place.” Sometimes I just get an “Ohh!”

The truth is, I never wanted him to move 2,000 miles away, but I didn’t feel it was right to try to prevent it if his career opportunities lie in that direction and if he felt God pulled him there. My husband and I tried to provide solid catechesis and model an active sacramental life to our children as they grew up.

We stressed, that so long as they live their Catholic faith and retain their morals and values of their upbringing, we will support their careers and location choices, even if it takes them far from us. Who are we to thwart what God may have in the works for them?

Knowing that God has a unique mission or plan for each of us, and being familiar with my sister’s own unusual vocation — a consecrated lay person who once served as a missionary in Siberia and Africa — we easily realized that an “average,” cookie-cutter life is not always what God has planned. Sometimes He calls people to be “missionaries” in the strangest places.

The strange place I never imagined my son would be is Hollywood. After completing the Act One Executive Program for Christians and graduating from a Catholic university, he headed west to get a job in the business side of creating movies.

The Catholic Church has always been a patron of the arts, commissioning the creation of paintings, cathedrals and music. Movies are a newer art form, but have equal opportunity to inspire, persuade and enrich the lives of those around them. They also have the potential to corrupt, which initially worried me sick.

In any career you choose, you have choices. You can be a decent human being in any respectable job, or you can be a despicable one.

You can live your faith strongly and quietly and be an example to others around you, or you can succumb to peer pressures and temptations.

It is imperative that good influences be in all art forms. Movies, like any other product, are not created in a vacuum. If there is no positive influence in the industry, a negative one will fill the void.

Skill, excellence and quality count in every business. When skill and excellence are paired with the quality of truth, beauty and goodness of an authentic faith, amazing things can happen.

If no respectable citizens enter politics, what hope do we have for our nation? If no moral men and women choose finance or banking careers, what hope do we have for the business world? If Christians reject careers in the movie industry only because of potential pitfalls, how can we expect the production of quality, inspirational films?

Jesus said his disciples were the “salt of the earth.” Salt is used to season and preserve foods. Just a little salt can improve or change the entire taste of a dish, and it is not easily removed from a food once added. Salt is most needed where it is least found.

When our son moved to Hollywood to pursue his career, I had moments of despair and distress. I was sure that the culture there would change him. But then I heard how one older woman noted his work ethic and weekly Mass attendance. She called him “amazing” and said she was impressed because she had “never met a young man his age that is pro-life.”

Slowly, I saw him making friendships with like-minded people, and networking with the same. He started to mentor a popular young actor. Who knows what influence that will have on others who follow the actor as a role model? We’ll have to wait and see. A little ripple could become a big one.

Don’t be afraid to go somewhere or do something where you will be in the minority and your faith might be challenged. John’s Gospel says, “Perfect love casts out fear,” and God is perfect love.

If you frequent the sacraments and cling to your faith, you and your children can be salt of the earth. You can be channels of grace anywhere and everywhere you go — in the factory or office, main street or Wall Street and yes, even Hollywood.

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