I recently got hooked on this new reality show called The Moment. Former MVP quarterback, Kurt Warner hosts the show that provides a life changing opportunity for selected contestants. Each contestant was nominated by a loved one to live out their dream job, which they could not pursue because life got in the way. In other words, they were on a particular track and greater priorities took over causing them to abandon their goals. Most pretty much settled into a normal life filled with everyday responsibilities that many would label mundane.
For each episode, the contestant is given a test to see where they are and then paired with a mentor who will coach them in preparation for the final interview. The interview consists of an evaluation of their performance by representatives from whatever entity can provide the opportunity. If the reps like them and think they can do the job, they get hired on the spot.
Now if you think these are everyday kind of jobs, think again. They are occupations that demand odd hours, travel and in some cases the public spotlight. That sounds pretty fascinating, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t give their right arm to live out their dream job? A consistent statement in each show: “I’ve been given a second chance”.
I think what has fascinated me more are the human dynamics involved and complexities of choice. On the surface, it might seem that all is golden. But after the initial test, it becomes clear that the contestant needs some improvement. With the goal of that dream job in view, they become determined to wipe away the rust that has gathered from lack of use. Frustration and disappointment are not uncommon experiences. However, whatever hurdles exist, the mentors and some friendly words from Warner usually do the trick.
And something else occurs in this process. They miss their families. Yes, I know it might seem kind of formulaic to select these loving two parent families. But this was the alternative to the loss of their dream job – a loving home. This was the ‘other’ life selected. In fact, their families serve as a significant motivator to keep going through the rough spots in the two week interview preparation. It is not uncommon for the contestant to reflect on how they were given this chance because of their nomination of their spouse who was willing to sacrifice 2 weeks without their significant other and a possible changed lifestyle. Nor is it uncommon for the contestant to wrestle with what this opportunity will mean for changed family dynamics and raise questions if it is the right thing to do given the stability of life that has been built.
You can tell how much families mean to the contestants. Right before the big interview, their families are brought in and you can see their demeanor virtually change. At this point they are on an emotional high. They have their family with them and they are about to get the chance of a lifetime.
But then comes the tough part. Most of the contestants are offered the job. They then have to mull over the decision with their significant other. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Priorities are upfront and center. Do I take the dream job at risk of sacrificing loss of family time and maybe stability or do I pursue my dream? It is often a dilemma.
What strikes me most is the support of the spouses. During the two weeks away, you get a glimpse in the reality of a possible changed life. While they nominated their spouse for this second chance, they also are made aware that involves sacrifice on their part. And yet, they remain supportive. This is love in action, an embodiment of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It is a picture of having the other in mind.
Last night’s final episode epitomized this dynamic. Phil longed to be a concert conductor. But when his son was diagnosed with autism, he and his wife decided that stability was more important and he opted for an ordinary life of being high school music teaching instead. Like others, he was thrilled at the chance that his wife nominated him for and encountered similar frustrations of rustiness and inadequacy. By the time of his final interview, he had vastly improved and gave a visually stunning performance as conductor (with a few rough spots according to the experts). He was offered a job at the Cincinnati Pops.
He turned it down.
He realized that he had everything he needed. At the end of the program he said “I just want to be a husband, father and teacher”.
Now some would balk at his decision. How could he turn that down to go back to an ordinary life? But I think Phil recognized that where there is love and stability, there is everything. Phil went away a very rich man.