I have a young friend who recently was cast into a small part in a local production of Les Miserables. As if this wasn't exciting enough guess who came to see it and guess who she got to meet? No, not any of those people.....she got to meet Rolfe-from The Sound of Music. Don't ask me why he was there I don't know the details, but I was fascinated that she called him Rolfe-from The Sound of Music. We all know who Rolfe is or rather was; the cute seventeen year old who sang the famous song "16 going on17" in the Gazebo to Liesl and then betrayed the Von Trapp family after he joined the Nazi party (which is why we both love and hate him).
After hearing how my friend referred to him as Rolfe-from The Sound of Music making it his given name rather than saying "I met Daniel Truhitte"; I couldn't help wonder if he liked going through life as Rolfe-from The Sound of Music. When he was cast in the role did he know the movie would become one of the most beloved films of all time? Did he sign up for being forever fixed in the public imagination as a seventeen year old Austrian singing a catchy tune? Did he realize he would spend the rest of his life being introduced as Rolfe-from The Sound of Music? Maybe yes...maybe no. Of course this may have been wonderful for him, maybe he would rather be Rolfe than Daniel who knows? But it has to be somewhat difficult to age gracefully when every stranger you meet cannot understand why you don't look seventeen anymore and they are secretly disappointed. Your Rolfe????Okay...loved the movie!
At the same time I was pondering these questions I went to see Fox Searchlight's new release The Way Way Back ( which I highly recommend). The movie opens with a slouching awkward fourteen year old boy sitting in the way way back seat of a classic station wagon. He is going on vacation with his mother, her new boyfriend, and the boyfriend's teenage daughter. In the first scene the boyfriend Trent looks at Duncan in the rear view mirror and asks the youth to rate himself by picking a number between one and ten. You can literally feel Duncan's discomfort at being asked to put a number on himself. First refusing he eventually succumbs to Trent's goading and selects a safe choice, the number six; to which the older man replies "I think you're a three". Ouch!!!
Fortunately the movie is a hero's journey and does not leave Duncan in the loser role Trent wants to cast him in. Escaping the house one day the boy crosses a threshold and enters the new world of "Water Wizz"; the local waterpark. Here he meets his mentor Owen the waterpark manager, makes allies of the other employees and passes tests that prove he is much more than a three. The best line of the film comes toward the end when Duncan opens his wound to Owen and repeats what Trent said to him; this time the "older man" speaks truth to Duncan and says "that's about him and has nothing to do with you". Wow!!! That's about him and has nothing to do with you!
So my question is Who cast you into the role your playing" Are you like Rolfe living out of a false persona because at some vulnerable age you were offered this chance to become a "somebody" if you would only take the part? Or did some older and supposedly "wiser" person label you a three or speak ugly words over you which in your youthful insecurity you accepted as fact? Did you ever have a mentor who knew you, loved you and was able to expose the lies and give you truth?
More important than any of these questions is this one: What role did God want to cast you in? If you are in any other role than the one He chose and created you for, your not only missing life with Him....your in the wrong story.