The past couple of weeks have been an unsettled mosaic of events that have not really seemed to make a pattern I can recognize other than to say most of my time has been spent inside feeding the wood stove in light of the recent cold wave that has hit most of what we call the south-east.
During this period of not being able to live our lives outside, Sandi and I have seen a few more movies than normal—most notably “Juno”, “Waitress” and “Reign Over Me”.
Juno is a film about a teenage girl who gets pregnant and after a moment at the abortion clinic decides to keep the baby and find a couple who will love it and call her child their own. It is a decent film that despite her honorable choice, joins most of what comes out of Hollywood these days in being “morally ambiguous“. Which to me means the film is saying that whichever choice Juno would have made is alright and is only guided by how she feels about it and not some moral standard to which she submits her life to. In not promoting one cause or the other, it is but one more example of films that promote Cultural Relativism which can be defined as “…the principle that one’s beliefs and activities should be interpreted in terms of one’s own culture”. And our culture is pretty much saying that a woman can do what she wants with her own body and that the “tissue” your body produces when the sperm hits the egg is OK to get rid of if it would be inconvenient to your lifestyle or future plans.
In other words, Juno is a creative story of a pregnant girl who makes a choice and follows through with it. It is a thoroughly human tale but is not pro-life or pro-choice—just an interesting tale told by a good writer and acted out by people in the process of developing their craft.
This doesn’t make it and others like it bad movies—just that one needs to have a realistic attitude when approaching most of what is called “film” today. It is like that old saying that goes: if you don’t believe in something you will fall for anything—or words to that effect.
“Reign Over Me” is the story of a man (Adam Sandler) who lost his family on a 9/11 airplane and how his life evolved in the aftermath of that seismic event.
“Waitress” stars former “Felicity” Kerri Russell and is an American “Like Water For Chocolate”. Her louse of a husband gets her drunk and pregnant and what follows is her trying to get out of her unhappy life. The movie is well done but is another example of people doing stuff that in “real life” doesn’t always turn out as well.
In between films, I explored Facebook and kept in touch with some “newly found” old acquaintances. This new social networking scene is very interesting and can provide the participants with some avenues of thought and action that push the envelop of what we call “friendship”. I am more of a “face-to-face” kind of guy and also have done my time on the telephone. Face to face you can see the body language of the person you are talking to and hear the vocal inflections that are not present over the internet or e-mail. Words seem to take on a life of their own online and one has to be really careful when sharing with someone. Although by this time in my life I am more direct and up-front than I have ever been because there really isn’t a lot of time for all that dancing around something that is right in front of us and most likely should be verbalized.
In light of this I began to think about what a friend is and how all that works out in the real world. I also came to the conclusion that in our society, friendlessness is almost an epidemic.
There are a number of couples I have known that seem to not have any really good friends in their lives. There are also single people that I know who feel lonely, discouraged and somewhat isolated. And having a My Space page doesn’t do a lot to alleviate those feelings. It’s a balm for sure but not a cure for where we find ourselves all to often in our life’s journey.
I am glad to say that I have a couple of good friends with whom I can be myself and they can be who they are as well without feelings of guilt or recrimination. People who I can call when I am feeling lonely or otherwise unsettled and with whom I can be real and authentic.
A friend is dictionary defined as:
1. A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
I am reminded of that old Jewish saying that goes: Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.
I have learned that in this life you only get a few close friends and that friendship is indeed a gift from God just as finding a loving wife is.
My wife is my “best friend” who I sometimes have to wonder what she saw in me almost 30 years ago. I do know that she saw something hiding inside that was more me than what most people saw on the outside and because she saw it, I became more of who I was destined to be and am becoming. Life is a process that we live through—it takes years to become a good friend to someone and also fully appreciate who they are and in process of becoming as well.
It is also true that I am an imperfect vessel who sometimes says and does things that are unnecessary and uncalled for—that I have wounded the ones I love most and have not always “been there” for them.
A friend of mine, Robert Mearns, said on Sunday that his picture of God is like an editor who takes the story we have submitted (read “lived”) and then, without taking who we are out of it, makes it better. He is indeed the author and finisher of the story we live everyday. And everyday I become more amazed at the plans and purposes He has for us. If only those people in those Hollywood movies could find their way into that screenplay. A story that has a beginning, a middle and an end—forever and forever until the end of time.
And at least to me, that is a real-life best seller screenplay and worthy of a Oscar any day of the week.
You won’t find it in playing at your local cinema—but may find it around a dinner table, at work, in a coffee shop somewhere or on your own long ride into the future of who you are becoming. It’s your ride, enjoy it.