Little one and I went to see the movie The Giver which is based on the book by Lois Lowry. Its a young adult book so I don't know how many of you would have read it...."my girl" read it when she was in middle school and was so upset by it. I remember her crying and saying that it shouldn't be allowed in schools, "Its just too disturbing!" There is a part in the story where they inject the "imperfect" newborn babies in the head with a poison that kills them. I had just had "little one" and I think the idea of anyone doing anything to hurt a little baby was too much for her. I remember around the same time, Molly accidentally seeing a horrible story on the news about a 3 year old beaten and killed by his mom's boyfriend. She burst into tears and said, "We would have taken him! He could have lived here with us!" I think they were all old enough when I had "little one" to understand how fragile a new little life is and how much it deserves to be cherished and protected.
So anyway, back to The Giver.....I loved it! It was such a powerful story about a community that has had all feelings, memories, color, emotions, socioeconomic status removed. They created a community where everyone was the same, so there was no jealousy, no harsh feelings or criticisms or judgements. It was a perfectly controlled and "safe" world. Each morning the residents received an injection that took away their feelings. No falling in love, no sadness, no joy, and no fear.
A young man, Jonas, was given the position by the elders to become the receiver of memories. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) was an old man who would transfer the memories over to him. He chose Jonas because he saw a hope that Jonas would be strong enough to do what it took to release them from the burden of this perfection that they lived under. This burden of nothing being real, not feeling, nothing being authentic. However, the head elder (Meryl Streep) was terrified of losing the control. Of opening up the world of feelings to the community members and risk something painful happening.
Jonas began to see the beauty in all of the memories he was being allowed to see. The pain, the imperfection, the vibrant colors, the joy, the messiness, and he realized that they all had been missing something that was vital to their lives, to them each living a real and unique life. Not just existing.
I won't tell you the ending.....
Little one and I talked about it all the way home....ok, it was me talking and her listening! Think of all the ways we numb ourselves and take away our ability to feel. We build emotional walls around ourselves, we distract ourselves with being too busy, with looking at the flaws in other people's lives instead of our own, we use drugs, we drink alcohol, we spend money, we exercise like fanatics, we eat, we watch TV, we do everything but stop and take a good long look at our reality. We MISS out on all of the beauty in the broken parts because we are afraid the broken parts will hurt too much, so we avoid, we dodge, we look away.....and we miss out on so so much because it feels safer to us than to stand still and just feel the broken shards stabbing into our flesh, into our spirits. We don't understand that if we will only look at it, feel it, experience all of what it holds over us, it will only be temporary. The pain will subside. The broken parts will be stripped of their power over our lives because we shined light on them, we stood up boldly and acknowledged their presence and said, "Yes, there you are, but you do not make up all of me. You are only a portion of what I am made of."
Life is so messy. So imperfect. So not what most of us expected. However, to experience the good, we have to be willing to live through the bad. Not just exist with eyes squeezed shut, but to really live through it and feel it. The only way I have been able to be even remotely successful is to let go of other people's lives and let them live out their own choices. The truth of the matter is that I understand that head elder. I get being so afraid that everything will fall apart that you would rather live in a rigid, black and white, no feeling world. I have had enough years now of learning how to embrace our brokenness and allowing my God to be my comforter and putter back together-er that I see a lot of color these days, a lot of love and compassion, and room for imperfection without it meaning that my world is coming to an end. But heading back into my hiding place is always an option if I let it be. Today I choose to close the door on that place of perceived safety....big brave talker that I am. lol
Much much love to you all.....
Annette (who is always praying for all of us.)