The first movie I remember watching in theatre was Pixar’s Toy Story on a elementary school field trip. Still one of my favorite films growing up, it taught me many life lessons, in what it means to take care of my toys and possessions, even though the possibility of them coming alive is pretty small, much less talking as well. However, one scene still echoes in my memories and serves as reminder for me to this day, about failing and how to handle failure as well waiting on the Lord’s timing.

Buzz, Woody and the Need to be Cool

It’s Andy’s birthday in the film he gets a new toy named Buzz Lightyear. Nevertheless, Andy’s favorite toy is Woody – a Cowboy action figure, who fearing that he would be replaced, challenges Buzz who the other toys was coolest toy on the block. What makes it comical is Buzz doesn’t realize he’s a toy, or  that he can’t fly.

Arrogantly determined to prove himself right, Buzz confidently closes his eyes, slips on a Hot-Wheels car, goes through the whole hot-wheels course and in the process his wings comes out and he “flies”, landing perfectly on Andy’s bed to the amazement of the other toys. He had accomplished the impossible.  However, Woody, seeing what actually caused his apparent flight is displeased and shouts that Buzz was NOT flying, rather he was “Falling with style”.

When Things Fall Apart

Often times in my work when I was student and now as campus minister, sometimes prayer gets answered immediately, things are rolling and everything is great. Yet, as many of us know, with times of great success there will be also great hardship that comes along the way. Like it or not, there will be times when things don’t go right, family problems arise, various other things come at you, prayers are left unanswered, and everything you do seems to fail. Students face these challenges as well, so how do we respond?

Illustrated in this particular movie is the moment when Buzz discover that he is a toy and finds out he cannot fly. He loses all hope and descends to the lowest moment of his life, in the hands of Sid the kid who in Andy’s neighborhood was known to be a terror and as well the person who destroys toys. Just when all seems lost, in comes Woody who won’t give up on Buzz and is determined to help him escape.

What then ensues in this scene is a beautiful demonstration of partnership and friendship despite the past differences and unfair treatment Woody experienced because of Buzz. Woody saw that he alone cannot return to Andy by himself but needed Buzz’s help and company, and through this, a strong friendship is formed.

Stronger Together

In the lives of our ministry and students we meet, we come to place when times aren’t going right for our ministry, families, relationships and just about everything we can think of. But it’s in those moments, where like Woody, we as brothers and sisters in Christ are there to encourage, to spur one another on, to keep continuing this race set before us, as well offer a shoulder, a smile, an ear and or a hug. Falling and failing will always be a part of our lives – it’s how we get back up and learn to rely on those who are there to carry us through these trials.

So, back to Toy Story. At the end of the movie, Buzz and Woody escape and Buzz flies again, only now, he also calls it “Falling in Style.” It is more than an acknowledgement that he’s a toy, it’s a tribute to the renewed friendship Buzz and Woody now have, recognizing that it was because of this partnership that he was able to escape Sid.

In that same vein, I’m reminded that partnership and friendship goes a long way in the Christian walk. If we want to go fast we walk alone, however to go far, you need some to walk with you. That’s why it’s important to embrace falling in style, knowing that God and Jesus are right there to catch you, with your friends as well.

smaller picture (160x240)Anthony Deng is the New York City Metro Campus Coordinator for Campus Renewal. He leads and coordinates volunteers for events such as One Cry and helps facilitate the New York City Metro Area student core team. Anthony was born and raised in New York City, graduated from CUNY the City College of New York, and has a B.A in History and Asian Studies. Anthony gives New York City tours to freshmen of various campuses. On his tour, he teaches and shows students various hidden gems of New York City. On the side, he loves to collect college sweatshirts and t-shirts.  In addition, he loves to play and watch basketball and football. He an avid fan of the Pacers & Colts.