I was pretty ticked off at my husband this morning, writing this on the day after one of the most meaningful occasions of each year for me–Christmas. Visiting our adult children, last night they all decided (at my husband’s enthusiastic suggestion) to watch an older movie entitled “Safety Not Guaranteed”. Bob is a huge movie buff, intensely creative in his own right, and is happy to watch some flicks multiple times to “get more out of them”. A few years back I bought him the original King Kong with (no joke) several hours of background material, and (no joke) he watched it ALL. He also chooses to watch some movies that interest him when I’m gone on a work convention because, after 36 years of marriage, he knows my particular tolerance-threshold for content. Not that he doesn’t have his standards, but plot and character development, use of story, screen-writing, special effects, Bob likes the whole gamut of the silver screen (or home entertainment) experience.
Me? It just has to end with puppies and butterflies. I have enough “drama” in my daily experience; I don’t need any more with which to be ostensibly entertained.
On Christmas Eve I felt like my girls and I had had such meaningful conversation. You know how it is–as adults, it’s easy for time and distance to put too much water under our separate bridges, all that. At night, Bob read Luke chapter two, KJV, just like he did when the girls were little, and just like his grandfather before him. So I was feeling really good when I was up to watch the sunrise on Christmas morning. Great Santa stuff, much fun, hiking in my daughter’s beloved Catskills, exquisitely crafted dinner, chatting ‘round the fire pit. Beautiful. Wonderful day.
Then the movie. Clearly, Bob had forgotten that this was one he had seen at home when I was not around. Oops. It was the “sorry, honey, there might be some things….”
I wasn’t about to walk out and reinforce my already somewhat well-worn reputation as a maternal prude. It’s not that I’m offended by the “f***ing” language, but the obligatory “f***ing” behavior to complement the storyline wears on me quite a bit.
So here I am this morning, considerably disgruntled with my other half. Ah, marriage.
But as I’m praying, considering my options between the proverbial “opening my mouth with the teaching of kindness on my tongue” or verbal castigation, several things occurred to me. (And I would like to emphasize to me, since they decidedly did not come from me, in my present state of frustration….)
I began to realize that this movie, albeit not a traditionally moral one in any sense, showed a very hopeful underlying message. By hopeful, I’m referring to me. Without any spoilers suffice it to say that, for thinking observers, there is portrayed a clear demarcation between superficial relationships in what the “world” typically offers and promotes, and the more meaningful intimacy that relationships are supposed to offer. With sensitive style, the writers show the development of this positive interaction between the outcasts, the hurt ones who know they’ve been wounded in life’s circumstances beyond their control, who are not looking for “f***ing” encounters to define their personhood, but instead find healing in helping each other. They win. Their counterparts, by all accounts, lose.
Open your eyes, grandma.
Enough of the movie. If you’re interested in the rest of my story, here’s what transpired this insightful “morning after”:
- First, it’s so important to keep myself from offense. Interestingly, I am very aware that God reminded me of this fact earlier in the day while hiking. Hmmm…should have seen THAT as a set-up, right?
- Not that my communication with my husband isn’t important, but even more so I need to remember that Bob is God’s servant, not mine; he is created (and is continuing to be re-created) in God’s image, not mine; and as Bob did for me in releasing me to that end when we were first married, so must I do also. Ticked off? It happens. Forgiveness? Immediately.
- Only then did this other, this thinly veiled but important artistic interpretation of an obviously “non-Christian” flick come to this very non-artistic prude, this hopeful thought that even in a post-Christian society, there is a deep recognition of more to relationship than what our culture generally puts front and center. So much more. Obviously, in my Christian worldview, this awareness was not complete, but the awareness was there. IS there! And THAT is something I can work with! Or better yet, something God can work with, (albeit many times, through us), because He’s the One who put that deep desire and need within each of us, His most precious creation.
Still not a movie I would choose to see of my own, but I’m very thankful for a little more growth on my part.
However, honestly, I still prefer my puppies and butterflies.
(P.S. If you’re interested in Bob’s commentaries, see his site at : https://robertlambertjones3.wordpress.com/ )