Letting Stories Change Us
I just finished watching Tambien la Lluvia (Even the Rain) on Netflix. Here’s the trailer:
The film is set as a movie within a movie. It begins with two men who are wanting to make a movie about how Christopher Columbus and others treated Indians. Their desire to cut costs takes them to Cochabamba, Bolivia during the water crisis when the poor, indigenous people were fighting after their water had been privatized. It is in the midst of this conflict that the directors are attempting to make their film about Columbus.
There is one scene in particular where Costa (the producer) is being confronted by the woman doing the filming. She’s trying to convince him to let her do a documentary about the riots taking place around them in Bolivia. His response to her is, “This story has nothing to do with me.” Her statement back is, “But you are in the middle of it.”
As the movie progresses you watch the transformation of Costa. The struggle of these people begins to impact him as he watches them fight to survive. It’s beautiful to see. Watching a character that represents majority culture embrace the story of a marginalized group is powerful.
I think the same is often true for people who step in and do ethnic minority ministry. When someone takes the initiative to understand and see the world from another person’s perspective, especially a marginalized person, they are inevitably changed. I know for me, I’ve been most impacted by the stories of our undocumented students involved in our movement. As I’ve learned of their struggles, I’ve been moved to stand with them when they’ve been mistreated. I’m a different person because I’ve allowed their stories to transform me.
Much like the main character in the movie, we all have a choice to make when we encounter people around us that have a different story than our own. Will we say to them, “This story has nothing to do with me”? Or will we enter into their experience and allow God to change us as a result?