Love & Mercy (A Review of Sorts)

Oh my word, you guys. Hunny took me on a date June 29th, over a month ago. My plan was to share our movie experience with you the following week. It is somewhat terrifying to me that I let 33 days slip through my fingers. Does that frighten you to your very core? If not, it should!

33 days ago, the plan was to see Love & Mercy and then watch I’ll See You in My Dreams, a Doris Day / Danny Thomas movie. I can’t even explain how excited I was to see a biopic followed by a movie made in 1951. Two types of films I love with the man I love?! Life does not get any better than that.

When we arrive at the film house, we do not see a Danny Thomas movie poster. Doris Day’s enormous smile is nowhere to be found. Hunny asks the girl behind the concessions stand about the movie. She tells us I’ll See You in My Dreams is an old person movie about old people and we did not want to see that. Undaunted, we went on to watch Love & Mercy.

I went into this movie looking forward to peeking behind the scenes at the Beach Boys and completely uninterested in Brian Wilson. You see, growing up I believed I would be involved in music. I would be a singer/songwriter for some band or just myself and that would be my life and livelihood. I watched Behind the Music incessantly. It did not matter if the bands were ones I didn’t know full of people I had never heard about, I watched to learn about the ins and outs of the music business and how they found inspiration for music. Unfortunately, the show was mainly how their lives were a train wreck: affairs, drugs, thieving managers, tragic diseases, and tragic accidents involving planes or trains. I vividly remember watching the one on Wilson Phillips where Carnie Wilson talked about what a horrible father she had and how mean he was to her. I don’t know why this burned into my brain, but I felt so sorry for her. And it made me not like her dad. I couldn’t stop loving the Beach Boys, but I knew that guy was a bad dude.

When the film ended and I emerged from the emotional roller coaster, I felt terrible for Brain Wilson. Again, great writing paired with amazing acting can change a person. For the record, I still am not a Brian Wilson fan and I will always be a Beach Boys fan. I didn’t care that Paul Dano and John Cusack look nothing alike, because their mannerisms and speech patterns were similar. They were both heartbreaking and completely genuine in expressing the pain they were independently experiencing. Paul Giamatte is legitimately horrifying as the psychotic psychiatrist Eugene. This is not a movie you want to see when you’re feeling overly emotional. It is definitely worth seeing.

Thirsty Thursday: Beyond Death

This is my second year reading through the Bible. I’m not reading it for the second time. I’m not even halfway through the Bible. I’m slowly but surely reading through the Bible while still getting the most out of my reading.

The past several days I’ve been meditating on a phrase from the final verse of Psalm 48:

that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. Psalm 48:14 emphasis mine

He will guide us forever.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Forever is such an interesting word. For me and my finite human brain, the word forever is ethereal and poetic. It is almost like a pretend, made up word. What does forever really mean? What does forever feel like?

There was a reference beside the word forever in the text, so I had to look at what was written about this beautiful phrase. The footnote read: Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death

Beyond death!

Now that really resonates with me. I am no stranger to death. I have had numerous loved ones die. I see death in the changing of the seasons. I also see death in more banal ways such as light bulbs going out and the blackening of my phone’s screen.

God will guide us beyond death! That is exciting. That gives more meaning to our life after this one. It also gives us reassurance that our trust exercises in this life on earth will help us in the next. God will be guiding us through it. No matter what we’re going through in this life or the circumstances we meet in the next, God is leading us. Jesus told us He would always be with us even to the end of the age, and it is even more comforting to know that God is guiding us from this life into the next.

I Broke

It was bound to happen. And I kind of knew it was coming.

I’ve been begging for a break from helping with the non-profit since the Incident. I haven’t had any such break and, at times, have been given more work. I requested July off, but there’s an event in August and I know I’m going to have to help in July. I just KNOW.

Hunny gives a weekly lecture for the non-profit. He was and still is sick, so I prepared to give a lecture in his place. As I was preparing, I received a message from the volunteer who watches small children during the lecture for attendees. She’s quitting. She’s giving no notice. In her message, she asked a couple questions that threw me:

Have you ever thought about getting more than one person, so there can be a rotation of volunteers?

Yes. 

Have you contacted such and such person to aid in finding volunteers?

Multiple times. 

And that’s when I broke.

I cried. I couldn’t explain what was wrong when Hunny asked. I finally choked out syllables with the semblance of the news. Informed that she was getting paid, I became angry. She wasn’t even really volunteering.

Hunny pondered if we should leave the non-profit. Can we keep doing this? Does God want us to keep doing this? He was expecting a two way conversation. I was physically unable to talk. I was a mess. All I could do was sob.

I need to walk and pray. 

Terrified of leaving me alone in such emotional duress, Hunny hobbled behind me, dragging his sick self outside to monitor me. I knew I had to get myself together. Maybe talking to someone would help.

The only fellow staff member I trust sat in the corner with me in a room full of people.

I’m wearing makeup to hide that I’ve been crying for a couple hours. 

“That’s not good,” he cautiously deadpanned.

I told him I broke. The tears immediately resumed. As I was unloading the ridiculous demands of our immediate supervisor, the pain of being ignored by fellow staff, and how underwhelming the support for our department is, Cupcake and Yeeyum have an argument. A high decibel level argument. Fine. They were yelling and screaming.

And I deal with this at home.

After 30 minutes of crying, it was time to go. All my poor friend could do was give me a hug and the assurance of his prayers.

As I was erasing the board to start the lecture, I heard a voice ask, “Are you ok? You look like you’re gonna cry.” I’m ok, I forced. Another voice asked, “Are you ok?” I broke yet again. No. I’m not.

Tears flowed as I walked out of the room and into the bathroom. The second voice took over for me. I composed myself in the bathroom only to find the Loser waiting for me in the hallway. I was taken aback because he hasn’t been around in months. I honestly do not remember the last time I saw him.

I purposefully lied when he asked me if I was ok. He went in for a hug. I gave him my side, but he wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. As he kept squeezing, I pulled my forearms over my chest and turned my face away. In the movie version of this scene, I would have punched him in the stomach. In the real life version, I thought, How much longer is this going to be?

When he finally let go, he prattled on about his problems: his ex-wife, the impending failure of her second marriage, his doomed relationship with his kids, and his inability to find a job that “fit him.” I stood there, stunned and slightly amused at his crazy train. At some point, my expressive face gave way to tedium (Dang my expressive face!).

“You’re the one upset and here I am telling you all my problems. It’s just that you’re the only girl in my life, I mean woman, who I can talk to. Who listens and understands.” (P.S. Again, I haven’t seen or heard from him in months. When I do see him, Hunny is present. Sometimes he catches me off guard. It’s always in a hallway…) “I’m here for you. I mean, I’m here now, but I’m also here for you. I know I’m just a guy, but I’m here whenever you need me.”

In the movie version of this scene, I would have said something like, “NO, THANKS!” or “BACK OFF!” or “LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU IDIOT! I’M MARRIED!” In real life, I excused myself to talk to someone else. Hunny has teased me before about the Loser having a crush on me, “It’s all fun and games until he tries to kiss you. Then I’ll have to beat him.”

Do you know anyone else to get hit on by a struggling addict after breaking down in tears in front of a crowd? No? Just me then? Ok.

A Long Hard Look

I’m sick, you guys. As in, can’t do anything but lay there, can’t concentrate on anything, and just feeling horrendous. There’s nothing like being unable to function to make you reevaluate your life. I don’t like what I see.

I’m wasting my life.

Let me clarify: being Hunny’s wife and being mother/care giver to the Littles is not a waste. It is an honor and a privilege. All the screaming and crying I’ve heard from my sick bed confirms that they cannot function without me, so I’m kind of important to their overall well being and quite possibly their existence. However, I am wasting the precious vapor that is my life.

Aside from the 40+ hours a week I spend taking care of my home and family, I spend all my extra time, energy, and effort helping Hunny with his duties at his second job working for a nonprofit organization. Helping my husband is part of being a wife, but I have nothing left over for myself. I spend zero time and energy following my passions or chasing my dreams. If I don’t change this, I will resent my Hunny. Nobody wants that.

I am going to prayerfully consider what I can do to change this and make time for me.

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Ridiculous (Inside and Out)

Why is it that people forget that really ridiculously good looking people have feelings? As a ridiculously good looking person myself, I’m here to tell you, Yes, we have feelings. And yes, I’m making an obvious Zoolander reference and no, I’m not excited about the sequel. I think the sequel is a BAD idea. I predict it will be better than Anchorman 2, but not by much.

Honestly, though, my feelings were hurt deeply and repeatedly this weekend. Someone laughed in my face, another person made snide comments to me, a third person was purposefully mean to Cupcake (a grown up no less!) all within a thirty minute period. That was just at one event this past weekend. I won’t go into the others.

I think it is easy to look at someone who is attractive and married to an attractive person and has attractive children around them and think, Ugh. There is NO reason to be kind to them. Their life is perfect and mine is not and I am going to treat them badly so they know what life is like for the rest of us!

I can tell you right now: my life is not perfect. If you want some proof, read more blog posts of mine. Here’s one. Here’s one. Here’s another.  No one has a perfect life. No one will have a perfect life on earth. But you have the ability to be kind to others. You have the ability to make someone cry in the car for thirty minutes or make them feel welcome in new surroundings. You can be really, really, really ridiculously good looking on the inside.

Thirsty Thursday: Forgiven Much

I have two newly pregnant friends. One is married. One is not. I have been sharing as much as I can with both of them, because being pregnant is hard and scary and everyone deserves support. I’ve been through some serious stuff, so I know I have the ability to be a comfort. I message them both with things that are relevant to pregnancy and sent both of them Mother’s Day cards. One is extremely thankful and the other one doesn’t give me the time of day.

Which one would you guess is the thankful one?

It is not the married one.

I am not reaching out to these pregnant ladies for applause or for attention. I do not expect any thanks. I am doing it out of a genuine hope to be helpful and ease the pain of a stressful time. But it brought something to mind.

Jesus was invited to dinner at an important, religious man’s house named Simon. While they were dining, a woman who was known to have a bad reputation, came into the house. She cried so hard at Jesus’ feet that His feet got wet. She wiped His feet with her hair, kissed His feet, and even broke an expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on His feet. Simon thought, If Jesus was who people say He is, He would KNOW who this woman is and He would NOT let her touch His feet.

Jesus then told him a story about two people who owed debts. One owed 500 denari and the other owed 50. Neither could pay their debt, so the moneylender decided to cancel their debts. Then Jesus asked him which he thought would love the moneylender more. The religious man answered that he thought it would be the one who had the greater debt.

You have judged rightly. Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.Luke 7:43b-47

When I was younger and dumber, I mean, less perceptive, I thought, Oh no! I don’t sin that much, so my love for God isn’t going to be great.

Wow.

I would find it funny if it weren’t so shamefully embarrassing.

I read that we have on average 82,000 thoughts a day. Let’s say all your thoughts for a single day are sinful. Jesus paid the price for 82,000 sins. Let’s say your thoughts are sinful for a week. That’s 574,000 sins that Jesus paid for with His blood. Let’s say your thoughts are continually sinful for a month. 2,542,000 sins covered by Jesus. Let’s go crazy. We’re going to suppose your thoughts are sinful for a full calendar year, 365 days. Jesus wiped away 29,993,000 sins through His death on the cross.

That’s just thoughts, people! I’m not even going into words you say or actions.

I know that I wrestle with my thoughts on a daily basis.

We should not let our socially acceptable sin blind us to the fact that they are sins and that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We all have fallen short. We all have been forgiven much. Don’t let pride get in the way of seeing how good you really aren’t and how great God really is.