I’m currently in London with my family, and yesterday we spent part of the day at the movie studios where all the Harry Potter movies were filmed.
My expectations for this excursion were pretty high. I’m a buy-the-book-at-midnight-and-read-it-until-I’m-done-and-see-the-movies-at-midnight Harry Potter fan. I love the world that J.K. Rowling has created, and I love the characters and the lessons I’ve learned from reading their experiences.
Walking into the tour yesterday, I was looking forward to seeing movie sets and costumes, and just thought it would be neat to catch a little glimpse behind the scenes. Instead, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work and care and love that went into these movies. And this tour was a testament to the thousands of people that put in that time.
Shelves filled with intricately designed props that I probably never noticed in the film. Walls filled with blueprint drawings for the sets. Racks upon racks of costumes that were created for people who may have only been on screen for a couple of seconds. Custom shoes that were built for specific characters. And the case that really got to me was filled with the pieces of paper that were created for the movie – custom newspapers, tickets, the program for the Yule Ball in The Goblet of Fire – hundreds of things that I never noticed, but that contributed to the overall magic of the movie.
As I moved through the exhibits, I was in awe of these people behind the scenes. They clearly love their work, and worked hard to make sure that every single thing they created was the best it could be – even if it was never seen on the screen. They were so committed to the quality of what they were creating, that the praise and recognition didn’t matter. The creating was enough. Even if they were creating a thing that no one would see.
At the finish of the tour yesterday, there was a room filled floor to ceiling with boxes of magic wands. Over 4000 boxes in the room. Each box had a hand-written label on the end of it with the name of an individual person who worked on the movies. And as strange as it sounds, that might have been my favorite room in the tour. The whole thing was a beautiful tribute to those who willingly labor with no thought for the credit they’ll receive, but still give the highest quality work they can. That after all the hours and work and love they poured into this project, we had the ability to see and appreciate all that they had done.
And it made me think – is that something I do in my life? Do I happily and willingly work to make the things I do each day the best I can make them? Even the things that no one sees? Do I have that level of pride and care in the work that I do in my home? My job? My personal development? Often, it’s tempting to let the things that will go unseen fall to the wayside or to slack off on the amount of time and energy I spend on them, but I have a new resolve to work hardest on the things that no one sees. With the knowledge that even if no one around me sees them, God does.
The aspects of our lives that are on public display usually take care of themselves because we want to leave the best impression possible. But it is in the hidden corners of our lives where there are things that only we know about that we must be particularly thorough to ensure that we are clean.
– L. Tom Perry