Loving Losers, Users, and Substance Abusers (Like Jesus)

Disclaimer: This is not about being in a romantic relationship with a loser, user, or substance abuser. My Hunny is a wonderful, God loving person who gives freely and generously and not out of abundance. 

If I recounted the entire spectacle this person, who’ll be referred to as Loser, has been in our life, you’d be reading this blog post for days. Loser is not a family member or someone we have known more than a couple of years. I’ll tidy it up with some brief lowlights: Loser repeatedly borrowed money from Hunny before we were aware of their substance abuse issue, Loser attempted to manipulate me into agreeing with a situation that Hunny had already established would not happen, Loser called collect from rehab to be collected from the facility, acquaintances have called Hunny asking why Loser would not stop calling them after loaning Loser money, and Loser attempted to take money from a nonprofit organization.

At one of these points, I completely broke. The event transpired on the same day as Cupcake’s birthday party. I roamed the grocery store in search of chicken nuggets,  carrying her cookie cake and forcing the sobs to remain inside my throat. As I attempted to hide my red, swollen, tear soaked face in the self-checkout aisle, I felt every eye turn as the cash register rejected my payment. The cold computerized voice shouted, “Get assistance.” Unable to control the tears as well as the sounds fighting to accompany them, I felt what everyone was thinking, How could someone so beautiful be so sad? My thought was, Is there any way I can rid the Loser from my life? Logistically, it can’t be done. My next thought was, How would Jesus treat this situation? (It is embarrassing to admit that my first inclination was not to emulate my Lord and Saviour, but I am growing and I have more growing to do! Obviously.) I returned to the final meal Jesus would share on earth before heading to the cross. The final holiday He would celebrate this side of heaven. Jesus revealed to His disciples that one of them would betray Him and quite literally sell Him out. Everyone asked if they would be the one. No one suspected the culprit was Judas Iscariot. Why? Jesus loved them all. He treated them with kindness. Jesus knew Judas was the one, but He did not treat him differently than the others. He didn’t make snide comments about him, he didn’t ignore him at the dinner table, He didn’t purposefully avoid talking to him, and He didn’t make him take the hard and unwanted jobs. Jesus did not single Judas out. Getting back to Loser. Would Jesus avoid him? No. Would Jesus try to make him feel guilty or bad for what he had done through words and actions? No. Would Jesus lend him money? I seriously doubt it. Jesus would be loving toward Loser. He would meet Loser’s physical needs: bring food, be available to talk, give rides to court dates, help connect them with help/counseling/accountability partner or group/job placement, etc. Jesus would pray for Loser. Jesus would be there without judgement and expecting nothing in return. Real love that is true and pure comes from one source. The only way to truly give real love is to have that love.

A Birthday Letter to My Son in Heaven

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

One year ago today, you were born into heaven. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. I know you are celebrating with our Father and my grandparents, Daddy’s grandfather whom he misses dearly, my uncle, your great uncle also born into heaven, my friends’ children born into heaven, and most recently a baby girl named Evelyn. You are so loved there. I want you to know that you are loved here as well.

After I lost you, one of my friends asked me what your name was and I didn’t have an answer for her. I asked Daddy and he didn’t have a name for you in mind. I looked at a calendar and noticed that the first letters in the months from July to November spelled “Jason.” I thought that was interesting and I immediately looked up its meaning (name meanings are important to your father and me). It means “Healer.” Even though at the time I was completely broken from losing you, “Healer” seemed to fit. I had no idea why at the time. Your Daddy liked it and we agreed: Jason Harris.

Months later, I spoke to a woman who needed to talk to someone. I listened to her. She talked to me with an air of contempt. How could I understand what she was going through? How could I realize the depth of her hurt? Did I even know pain? I told her about you. I told her that I almost died losing you. I told her that there were times I felt the crushing weight of guilt for surviving. I told her that I didn’t understand why you had to die and I got to live. I told her that I was confused and lost and ached almost continually. She cried. I told her that even though I didn’t understand, I KNEW God loves me. God has a plan. I told her that God’s love for me, what He did for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross, was the only thing that got me through the day. She cried harder. I prayed with her.

God used you to bring healing to that situation.

I don’t fully understand the cloud of witnesses and I don’t know if God allowed you to see that moment, but I wanted you to know. I am not holding a five month old in my arms. I am, however, holding you in my heart. You will always be a part of me. I know Cupcake will be so excited when she meets you in heaven. She wanted me to have another baby so badly. Your brother is too little to understand, but I know he will be happy to meet you and have a best friend waiting for him in heaven.

Thankfully, I asked God to give me a vision about whether or not I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test that confirmed it before God gave it to me, so I wasn’t expecting one from Him. He gave me one anyway. He showed you to me. A baby with brown hair the same shade as his Daddy’s, with a smushy face, wearing a blue onesie. Just like the first time I saw Cupcake and like the vision God gave me about being pregnant at your uncle’s wedding, I will always treasure the vision of you in my heart.

I love you,

Mommy

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 23} French Film – Populaire

God really loves me (and you, of course!). I mean, He really loves me. If He didn’t, this movie would not have been made.

Populaire is everything I love all rolled up in one great movie: a based on true events romantic comedy, a period piece no less, with 1950’s fashion set in France that stars a PINK TYPEWRITER (Ok, ok. The pink typewriter comes into the storyline towards the end, but still)!! Seriously?! Seriously? Best. movie. ever.

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30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 22} Dark Comedy – The Cable Guy

I don’t even want to review this movie. When Hunny and I first started dating, he asked me if I saw this movie and if I liked it. I had not and I was not interested in watching it. I did come across some interesting information about The Cable Guy. Ben Stiller was originally meant to star in the film, but he found directing and acting was too difficult. Chris Farley was the first choice, but was unable to commit due to scheduling conflicts. Jim Carrey won the role and got an unprecedented 20 million dollar salary for the role.

The only funny line from this movie is: I learned the facts of life from watching The Facts of Life.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 21} Robin Williams – Aladdin

When I was preparing for this series, it was before Robin William’s tragic suicide. I was planning on reviewing Father’s Day. It is a less than stellar movie and I thought it would be encouraging to see that even someone as legendary as Robin Williams makes mistakes. Now that he’s gone, I feel that would be in poor taste.

We did not go to the movies very often growing up. Most of the movies we did see in the theaters starred Robin Williams: Jumanji, Hook, and Aladdin. I was at UNC-Chapel Hill for Journalism Camp and saw part of the filming of Patch Adams. The movie I want to revisit is Aladdin.

Aladdin was a huge hit with my entire family. We saw it in the theater and bought it on VHS when it came out (no DVDs then). My mom still has our Aladdin Christmas stockings. When we went to Disney World, the best part for us was watching the Aladdin parade.

Robin Williams did so much ad libbing as Genie that the script was turned down for a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award. He improvised so much that there was 16 hours of material. He was even asked to improvise the merchant role, but most of what he said was unsuitable for the Disney audience.

 

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 20} Broadway Hit Turned Movie – Jersey Boys

Broadway hits becoming cinematic gold was the norm in Hollywood 60 and 50 years ago. Now it seems to be the opposite. Movies such as Legally Blonde and Spiderman are turning into Broadway hits. I’m pretty sure Beauty and the Beast was the first animated movie to become a Broadway hit.

I remember the first time I heard about Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical. I was watching Regis and Kelly with my Mom, and Regis animatedly said, “Jersey Boys! You gotta see it!” I don’t know why I remember this, but I do. I thought that sounded interesting and I thought it was crazy that Regis was friends with Frankie Valli.

Nine years later, Hunny hurries me out of my Mom’s minus the Littles saying that we need to go to the store. I thought it was strange that we were going to the store alone, but any alone time with Hunny is welcome. Especially since we can’t afford dates outside our house. When we got in the car, he turned to me and said, “We’re going to the movies.”

I cried.

Hunny hadn’t taken me to the movies in years. The last movie I saw in the theaters before Jersey Boys was The Great Gatsby and I saw that with a friend. I asked him what we were seeing and when he said Jersey Boys, I was a little disappointed. We also missed the beginning of the movie, which is irritating.

But the movie was perfect. I loved the four narratives telling the same story. I loved the characters breaking the fourth wall in a natural way that wasn’t cheesy or goofy. Director Clint Eastwood even snuck himself in the movie by having the characters watch one of his movies on TV. I especially loved the music and learning the behind the scenes information about them. I grew up listening to music from the 1950’s and 1960’s, so in a weird way, watching this film was listening to my childhood. I don’t think any of the other audience members, all at least 50 years older than Hunny and myself, had a more enjoyable time than we did.

Now it’s at the dollar theater, and I’m hoping Hunny will take me to see it again!

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 19} Steve Martin – Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Several years back, Hunny was on a Steve Martin kick. We were in Target when he saw a great impulse buy – three Steve Martin movies on one disc. The one I was most interested in watching was Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, a parody and homage to film noir and the detective movies of the 1940’s.

Eighteen movies were spliced with footage shot for this film. Eighty sets were built. This was Edith Head’s final movie! You don’t know Edith Head? She was the genius costume designer who has been quoted to have said:

I also think she was the inspiration for Edna E. Mode in The Incredibles.

It’s incredible that a cohesive storyline was created and executed using so many different films. Carl Reiner is a genius. Obviously. He created The Dick Van Dyke show.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 18} Holiday Movie – Young Frankenstein

Yes, I love Christmas. I have been known to celebrate it in July. But I don’t want to be predictable. I want to keep you guessing and keep things interesting, so instead of talking about my favorite holiday, we’ll be sharing a Halloween movie.

Although I didn’t see this movie as a child, I do remember my Mother quoting Young Frankenstein, “It’s Frunkensteen!” followed by hysterical laughter. I enjoy the premise of this movie: Frankenstein’s grandson inherits his grandfather’s castle and tests his grandfather’s experiment. If you’ve never seen black and white films from the 1940’s, then you’ll miss the humor of the production. This is a satirical film poking fun at the early horror movies. Transitions from that time,which were no longer being used when Young Frankenstein was filmed, were added for comedic effect. The set used to bring the monster to life is the same set used in the original Frankenstein movie.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 17} Movie Starring an Athlete – Steel

Hunny and I do not have cable television. We barely get the free stations with our antenae. One time when we were trying to get ABC or CBS, I searched the channels to see if we were picking up anything. What came to us was, in fact, a gift. A station appeared that was showing Steel, a movie starring Shaquille O’Neil.

It was glorious.

There are some movies that are so terrible that they’re enjoyable. Kind of like when you see your reflection in a funhouse mirror. It’s funny because you know you don’t really look like that, but in the mirror you do. We know movies aren’t supposed to be like this, but here it is.

The best part is that Shaq shines as the best actor in the movie. He was the most believable person and delivered his lines in the most realistic way. He really did! And he had to do his own stunts because the studio couldn’t find a 7′ 1″ stunt double. Do you think they legitimately attempted to find one for him? Or did they just say, “Look, we’re not going to find a giant to be your stunt double. Sorry, dude.”

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 16} Bill Murray – What About Bob?

With Ghostbusters being rereleased in theaters for its 30th anniversary, I thought Bill Murray would be an appropriate subject to have on this 30 Days, 30 Movies series. He’s also been in the news as of late with various antics, my favorite being telling a person getting married that they should travel the world together first. I wish he had given Hunny and me that advice. I would have definitely been to France by now.

What About Bob? is a spectacular movie about opening yourself up to possibilities. It is one of my Mom’s favorite movies. “I’m baby stepping to the elevator” was frequently quoted in my house. The most hilarious part about this film is that the character who seems to have it all together is the one who does not and the character who seems the most damaged is the most normal. I also secretly love that Richard Dreyfuss said that he and Bill Murray did not get along during filming.