At the Academy Awards last night, Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game,” about the life and achievements of the late Alan Turing, the British mathematician and cryptanalyst who helped solve the Enigma code during World War II. Turing was later prosecuted for homosexuality in Britain and died by suicide in 1954 at 41 years old.
After thanking everyone he worked with on the film, Graham Moore mentioned how unfair it was that Alan Turing never got the recognition he deserved for helping end the war, and yet here he was getting recognition for telling his story. Moore then got very personal: “When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, like I didn’t belong — and now I’m standing here. And so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird, she’s different, or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different, and then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
It was a truly arresting moment. Certainly not what anyone was expecting. I can’t ever remember anyone on such a public platform admitting to trying to take his or her own life. His courage was palpable, and his comments earned him a standing ovation from the shocked and surprised audience. Marti applauded the television.
This is the kind of thing that should make us more aware of the people around us who are often invisible — people who are not included because they are weird or different. It may be that someone right next to us is feeling these things — perhaps close to suicide — but no one knows because no one cares enough to find out.
Someone gave Graham Moore a reason to live. We need to give the people around us a reason to live by noticing them, caring for them, and trying to find out their story, not by judging them or trying to get them to change who they are.
Our prayer team is praying for a teenager who is refusing to eat. Anorexia is complicated and hard to overcome. She needs a reason to live. That can’t come through a message, or through a doctor’s or parental warnings. It can only come through a live human being who cares that she lives. It has to be real and tangible.
Everybody needs a reason to live. There are certainly biblical reasons to live, but those reasons can’t be known unless we live them out for someone else. A scripture verse isn’t going to do it. Give the people around you a reason to live. Let them know how important they are to you. Make a difference in someone’s life today; you may actually be saving them.
I just went outside to get the newspaper, and the sun was barely up on a rain-washed neighborhood. Beads of water hanging from branches sparkled in the sunlight. It was one of those “Morning Has Broken” mornings that can give most of us another reason to live. But for some, a beautiful morning isn’t going to do it. It’s going to take something more. It’s going to take a person, and who is that going to be if not you and me?