Movie Love

There is a really interesting dialogue going on over at Relevant Magazine’s site.  Cole NeSmith has written an article called, “The Dangers of Emotional Pornography”.  In it he says, “We’re taught to crave the moment of romantic ecstasy or to live for the wedding day.”  This topic is near and dear to my heart, because I have been upset about the way love is portrayed in movies, these days. (Which makes it really hard, considering I’ve been a lifelong fan of the chick flick.)  So, instead of re-saying everything Mr. NeSmith has said, you can read it here.  (The continuing discussion is worth a little perusing as well.)

I think we’ve all gotten tired of the happily ever after wedding ending, but as a culture (or maybe as movie makers) we’ve yet to come up with a good solution.  In movies where it is more about the journey than the ending, there seems to be a voracious co-dependence.  (One that I do not want my daughter, who is already a hopeless romantic, to witness.)  I think, this has happened because of our addiction to sensationalism.  If we can’t have the BIG ending, then we want the BIG emotional rollercoaster that swallows the two people whole. 

Of course, it is so easy to be judgemental from this side of the screen.  I have no idea what sort of discussions, director choices, production money played a role in the finished product.  And, to be fair, culture (even movie culture) does not turn on a dime.  There are attempts being made, and I think we are too early in the game to say, “That’s not quite it.”  I do hope that we continue to move towards a portrayal of love that shows the beauty of the everyday choice.  Anyone can see the beauty in the grand gesture, but it is a true work of art when we are able to unveil the beauty of the everyday.  A good example of this is in photography, everyone knows we’re supposed to take pictures of the sun setting on the horizon, but it’s the true artist that can focus on the simplicity of a leaf, and make it a masterpiece.

I have hope.  Here are some of the things that fuel my hope: 

Paper Heart  It’s a fun movie that explores love, and has glimpses of this.  (I don’t wholeheartedly agree with it, but I like the discussion it represents, and I love the way the Indy world de-sensationalizes love.) 

*A great blog that speaks about choices is this one at Gypsy Mama. 

*And, for a real life example, this morning, my husband woke with the kids, fed them, and then brought me coffee in bed (he does this everyday).  That looks a little bit like a leaf that needs to be made into a masterpiece, doesn’t it?

Photo credit

The coldest winter I ever saw. . .

was the summer I spent in San Francisco. –Mark Twain

Things that don’t feel like summer:

1.  Fog!  Blankets and blankets of fog, laying on top of mountains and skyscrapers and bridges.

2.  Fuzzy socks

3.  Ongoing Math assignments, that we didn’t finish during our school year.

4.  Finding time to workout, every day.

5.  Being controlled by the potty watch.  (If you don’t know what this is, it’s my 4 yr old’s watch that is programmed to sing a little song, at the timed intervals of our choosing, indicating that it is time to go.:) I know TMI for the non-parents, but it is a life-saver in this house.)

Things that feel like summer:

1.  Days full of bike riding, out-of-town friends, and last-minute road trips.

2.  The blue jay that just flew right up to the window.

3.  Neighbor kids knocking on the door to ask if we can come out and play.

4.  Little smiling heads hitting the pillow, and falling asleep immediately.

5.  Realizing it’s been way too long since you’ve blogged.

The ceiling at the capital, that we visited when we turned a work trip into a family field trip.

Random things to love

1.  Trader Joe’s Mango Green Tea.  Seriously, run, don’t walk, to your neighborhood TJ’s.  You will thank me.

2.  Sunny days.  I know, I allow the weather to have too much control over my emotions, but don’t you feel like a superhero when the sun is shining on you? 

3.  This song. Divine Romance by Phil Wickham.  I will probably always love this song.  It speaks to the kind of intimacy I long to make my daily reality.  “For you, I sing.  I dance.  Rejoice in this divine romance.”  There are songs that usher me right into His presence, and this is one of them.  In the lyrics, there is a tangible remembrance, which urges me to give more of myself away to Him.   I always come away thinking, “Can I love like that?” Click on the title and you’ll see what I mean. 

4.  This quote from good ol’ Ozzie:  “No man is born either naturally or supernaturally with character, he has to make character.  Nor are we born with habits; we have to form habits on the basis of the new life God has put into us.  We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God.  Drudgery is the touchstone of character.  The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do.  ‘Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist. . . began to wash his disciples’ feet.’ ” O. Chambers (Eek, thanks for the reminder O.C.  This is definitely a struggle.  Do you have daily habit ADD, like me?  Other than coffee drinking, I don’t think there is anything I do everyday.  Once, I realize I’ve done something two days in a row, I immediately tire of it.)

5.  (I’m tempted to tell you about another food item, but I will control myself.)  Graduations.  It is so great to witness accomplishment and potential mixed so beautifully.  I always get teary.  And, of course, there are the mortar boards to love.  Why do we make them look so silly on their special day?  It’s like a little hazing before they enter the real world.  “Here, stick this cardboard on your head.  Better yet, let’s hang a tassel from it.  There you go, now, fix up our messed up world!”

6.  (Okay, I can’t help it!)  Fruit Rollups.  You know what I’m talking about.  Can you eat a Fruit Rollup without smiling?  We rarely buy them, but whenever I get to eat them, I’m immediately taken back to squished paper bag lunches eaten while sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the Astroturf.  Then, I remember I’m a grown up, and realize that I am in charge of the whole box!  My freshman year of college, I bought Fruit Rollups every week.  The power went to my head a little bit.

7. The ocean.

I always feel a little lost when I’m far from it.

Wonder

My favorite toy, the iPhone, has an audiobook app that I’m more than a little addicted to.  It’s so great!  I can go around doing all of my mundane chores, while catching up on all the classics.  My brain hasn’t felt this healthy for years. (You know the way your muscles feel after a really good workout?  Like that.)  So, I found one of my favorites, Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton.  It was already on my summer reading list. (That is, if I ever found my copy amidst my father’s library books.)

Chesterton is amazing for so many reasons.  Of course, because he’s brilliant, and writes sentences that have to be read more than once to find all the different meanings.  But, my favorite reason for loving Chesterton is because of his childlike playfulness.  Just because of who he is, he completely refutes the idea that we must be stupid and turn off our intellect to have a childlike faith in God.  I know, lots of different people have done this, but until you read, or hear :), the way Chesterton poetically weaves words and ideas, you have not witnessed the playfulness of genius. 

I just get so excited when I read his words!  Here, read this:

“This at least seems to me the main problem for philosophers, and is in a manner the main problem of this book.  How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it?  How can this queer cosmic town, with its many-legged citizens, with its monstrous and ancient lamps, how can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town and the comfort and honour of being our own town?”

“. . . nearly all people I have ever met in this western society in which I live would agree to the general proposition that we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure.  We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome.  We need to be happy in this wonderland without once being merely comfortable.”

What do you think?  Don’t you love him?  Okay, that was just a teaser.  Don’t worry.  I will be quoting him a lot over the next few days.  I believe that the more we get to know our Maker, the more we realize we don’t understand, and this leads us to wonder.  I believe in wonder.  Wonder is one of my favorite tools.  It reminds me of my smallness, and my utter dependence.  It reminds me of God’s bigness, and unfathomable ability.  It is when I cease to wonder that I start to believe that my ability is enough.  And, I think we all know how small, and suffocating, our worlds have to become in order for us to feel like we can conquer them on our own.  Ha, this might be why I enjoy cleaning bathrooms so much!  That’s about the size of the world I can conquer on my own. 🙂

“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: ‘Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.’  Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.” Mark 10:13-16

Courage: The place where wobbly somethings are made strong.

I’ve been thinking about courage lately.  Partly because of Memorial Day, and partly because we talked about it at church this last weekend.  Courage is such a remarkable thing!  It’s so other worldly.  When you think about the times you have witnessed it, or people in your life that practice it regularly, doesn’t it stand out as something so exemplary?  It is not in our everyday nature to be courageous. 

In fact, we don’t always get the chance to practice courage.  It is a very special opportunity when we are asked to be courageous.  I don’t often recognize the special-ness.  I usually just recognize the fear I feel.  But, if we think about it, these opportunities for courage are a chance to test the lessons we’ve learned  (or not learned), because it is in these times that we are asked to stand strongly in our convictions. 

My son got his first perfect spelling test, last week!  How we celebrated!  Spelling is one of our most difficult subjects.  Every week, I tell him that his hard work will pay off, and every week, he looks at me with unbelieving eyes.  Even though he reads through his words everyday, and practices them on his worksheets, something happens between practice time and test time, that causes them to be forgotten.  I feel like the same thing happens with the lessons I try to learn.  I spend a lot of my time trying to learn from people who are wise.  I read, and read, and listen to words, and ideas, that I want to mold my character, and everyday behavior.  No matter how much time I spend doing these things, I forget.  Then, I get frustrated with myself and look up to the heavens with my unbelieving eyes, asking God, “When will I ever learn?”  But, then an opportunity for courage comes along.  And guess what happens?  First, of course, there is fear.  Then after some inward searching, usually by the One that knows me better than I know myself, I find a very small nugget of something, that is a little wobbly, a little hopeful, and a little exhilarating.  I pull this little nugget out, and allow it to color my behavior, perspective, and the words that come out of my mouth.  And, in total surprise to myself, and probably anyone else around to witness it, it looks like courage!  And, I thank My Father and ask Him where it came from.  And, like I did with my son, He points out the times we labored, and the times I came to Him asking for help.  And we celebrate.  Oh, how we celebrate!