The topic of many urban legends is now a documentary film. The Bill Murray Stories takes a look at the viral sensation of actor Bill Murray popping up in random places doing random things with random people. People love it. From him singing karaoke with random people to showing up at a random house party, people express joy at him being there. It makes their day that a famous actor would spend time with them and be with them. This caught my attention as a person who grew up on Ghostbusters and the like. It made me long for such an interaction and made me wonder how I would respond.
The film draws out a connection between these interactions with Bill Murray’s background improv comedy. In improv, the focus is to live in the moment and always react to what the other people are doing. And this seems to be what Bill Murray is doing in the real world with real people.
Bill Murray gets away with it because he is famous and people don’t expect it. People don’t expect a famous person to take the time to relate and know random people around them. But the fact of the matter is that nowadays, people really don’t expect any person to take the time to know the people they bump into as they go about their day. We are living in a society that is becoming more isolated from each other. People start their days headed off to work and then hurry back into the hamster cages we call homes. Some have social outings and other events or activities that connect them to the community at large, but those are becoming fewer and fewer.
Which raised the question in my mind, what if we all did what Bill Murray does? What if people took the time to actually interact with people around them on a personal level and lived in that moment for that moment’s sake? What if we struck up conversations with strangers just to know them? What if we sought to have fun with people in a way that made their day better? What if we practiced improv with those around us, not seeking the spotlight but rather putting the spotlight on them?
That would be expanding on the idea presented in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 where Paul says that he loves the Thessalonians so much that he not only shares the gospel with them but also his life. Isn’t that something that should move us to be with people around us? We should love them as people made in the image of God so that we want to know them, we want them to feel better after meeting us, we want them to leave us feeling joy from the interaction. One way we can do this is to see those interactions as improv, having fun in the moment, putting the spotlight on others, and loving them as humans.
This would change how most of us treat people. It would change the opportunities we have to share our faith. And I think it would change how people hear what we believe.
It is a bold way to live. It opens yourself up to rejection. But maybe, just maybe, there could be something to it. Where God could use us as we seek to love people in this way.