Tokyo at Night: The Seminarian Turns off the Billboards

This last week at work, the CEO of Hulu came in to talk to us. We get to have lots of interesting folks come in and talk with us … but I have to say, Jason’s point of view and candid discussion about his company was really refreshing and dare I say, inspiring.

To begin with, the company is very focused. They decided to do one thing and do it well. He called this “obsessiveness.” The key point I took from his talk was that too many websites (and companies for that matter) look like “Tokyo at Night.” In other words, they try to be everything for everyone, and end up being a big smattering of flashy lights and pretty colors. In trying so hard to appeal to everyone, they actually appeal to … well, no one.

I’ve thought about this over the past couple days and realize that the “Tokyo at Night” phenomenon is something that’s easy for each of us to fall into. At so many levels. It’s hard to for us to get comfortable with specifics that make us happy, or make the commitment to do things that we love. I feel like I’m often torn – while making a decision is attractive, I worry it shuts doors to other things, so sometimes I remain in limbo. It’s almost like I fear that shutting down options will make me less interesting, more tethered to a single identity, less well rounded.

When I look at this blog, I see a bit of this “Tokyo at Night” problem. I dabble in posting about the crafty things I love, I chat vaguely about work, and I feel like I should dig much deeper into the spiritual things that I really do want to share. It’s hard. It means putting myself OUT there. It means taking the leap. It means being committed to this part of my life that maybe I’ve been ignoring because its not popular or well understood, or because I’m afraid of what I might get labeled in my decision to talk about God.

What I see is that I need to turn off the billboards, the neon signs and all of the banner ads and the pretty lights of Tokyo in my world. In an extremely generous, and metaphorically appropriate move, I have been given two weeks off from my work in advertising, allowing me to celebrate Christmas, lead a retreat and spend time with family. I get the sense that my spirit would be best served to look inward and upward, to spend time with this piece of me, this piece of God. And see where it goes.

And right now? It feels pretty good to be walking away from that glittery town, with my back to the glitter and glitz. I know there’s a Light elsewhere, starting with the twinkling of the heavens, calling to shepherds and stargazers to remind them of the birth of a Child. A miracle and a promise, bigger than any of us, eternal and full of truth, and its calling.