Last Friday afternoon found me sitting in a movie theater… escaping reality for a little while and enjoying some much needed down time. The Best Of Me was a tear jerker like nearly all Nicholas Sparks stories… and I left not only with a wad of wet kleenex in my purse but reeling from the emotionally charged film. If you haven't seen it or heard of it it's a story of two high school sweet hearts who take different paths and eventually find themselves meeting up again due to events out of their control.
I opened the door to my SUV, sliding on the brown leather seat, tossing my oversized bag onto the floor of the backseat behind me. Sunlight streamed into the windshield and I winced from the harshness of it despite wearing Jackie O style sunglasses. The late afternoon sun was in full force and even though my stomach grumbled it was hungry I knew it had to wait… I was needed back at the office… work called.
Beside me, my mother flipped her visor down to shield the light from her eyes and she pulled her seat belt across her, buckling it in place. Starting the ignition I breathed in deeply through my nostrils and felt the tension that had built up in my neck and shoulders begin to slowly release as I exhaled.
"What did you think of it?" I asked her… backing out of the parking space and slowly making my way across the lot toward the street. The late October weather was mild and finally boots were justified… fall is terribly fleeting in Texas… it barely makes it's presence, like a flirt it disappears as quickly as it comes before winter settles in full force.
"It was a little rough… rougher than what I expected." She murmured and I immediately detected her disapproving tone.
I myself had not expected it to be that rough… I was expecting sappy and sweet not what it had delivered… a mix of heart gut wrenching emotions that had left me feeling more drained than anything. I affirmed my agreement with her with a murmur.
"What did you think?" She asked me… "Did you like it?"
"Parts of it… " I replied slowly and cautiously… "Parts of it I was disappointed in… there was no justification for them as high schoolers to have sex… it wasn't sweet or endearing… this is a PG- 13 rating… it sends the message to young teens that this is okay behavior… that scene was disturbing… it bothered me." I told her with a furrowed brow. "And… " I continued, "They didn't learn their lesson later in life… she's ready to have an affair with him… even if she is likely from what we can gather married to a jerk. And he was more than willing to let that happen. It was disappointing to see that occur… them together when she wasn't divorced. I wish it had been written differently."
She echoed the same sentiments as well and as I followed the flow of traffic down the main thoroughfare my thoughts spun too… "It's really a story of destruction." I said quietly. "It's a contrast of how maybe you think things should be and then how they really are. It's idealism and painful reality clashing like two opposing planets. It's the age old battle of how life coulda been versus what unfortunately is." I added… "You think to yourself… if only his family would have crawled under a rock… left them alone… they created so much pain and heartache. And it ultimately killed him. It's the injustice of that part and then the struggle that he's not his father. He's not like his family… him realizing his identity is not in them and their sinful ways. He stood for beauty and good."
"And then you've got her family… her dad trying to buy him off to not see her anymore." She added, "That was so cliche… it's been done time and time again."
"True… and yet it happens all the time I imagine in higher social circles." I affirmed and pursed my lips in thought... "How can she respect her father when he behaves that way? Her father is a man choosing to be defined by his wallet not Godly character."
5 Truths In Life:
1. You are not your family
You are not defined by your father who beat you, a mother who neglected you or any other scenario… we are not summed up by our relatives, by our bloodline… we are not their mistakes. They are separate from us… their wallet doesn't equate to our value as a person whether it's full or empty. God knows who we are… we are His and we are loved by Him.
2. Missing someone doesn't equate to pursuing them
We all have past relationships whether they are short lived or long and span the course of several years… we may have regrets or simply just wonder from time to time what coulda happened if it had worked out. It's one thing to wonder… but not fixate… eventually we have to let go… release these feelings and connections like a dandelion to the wind. We hurt others when we indulge in our selfish emotions, when we act on them and hold expectations of others. We also hurt ourselves staying in a state of mind that remains in the past… life is about growth, about change… and if it's meant to be it will happen under God's way and blessing not against the grain.
3. Money doesn't solve everything
True, money can solve a lot, without a doubt… it can solve emergencies that pop up and threaten our monthly budget… it can solve car troubles, an extra high electricity bill come mid-August or even paying for our kids college educations. But when it comes to wielding power and control… money can fall through… not everyone can be bought… a young woman intent on being with a young man she's in love with or vice versa likely isn't going to respond to a father extracting his wallet. True love doesn't engage in bribes or deals.
4. There is bad in the world
It is an unfortunate truth in life. There is bad everywhere and sometimes it hurts. Life isn't fair and no one ever said it was. Why does it happen? Not one of us can fully understand or explain it. Because of this fact many may be quick to dismiss God and Christians… to poo poo at them, claiming they are living in some type of fantasy world without concrete answers. We as Christians may tend to measure our sins in comparison to others and cry "...but I'm better than Suzie Q or John… so why do these bad things happen to me?" It's human nature to think our sin card is a tiny bit better… cleaner, than the person's next to us, at the office or even on social media. Like thinking of our own children or our own home we are each undeniably a wee bit biased. But the truth is we each deserve the wrath and fury of hell… each day we are still here living and breathing on earth it's because of God's great mercy. The fact is… we live in a sinful world and we each have the power every day to infuse light and love into it or contribute to the continual downfall.
5. She/He Is Maybe A Jerk Yet She/He's Still Your Jerk
In life we may be married to someone who is difficult… heck, were all difficult at times… who isn't when we've had a bad day, been sick or it's that time of the month. Maybe on the extreme were married to someone who is emotionally, physically or verbally abusive. Maybe were married to someone who is toxic, who has a "temper" or who is merely absent. We may not love them, we may not want to be around them or maybe we don't even like them… but unless were divorced they are still our spouse… were either married or were not… there is zero in-between or gray area… even separated still means married in God's eyes. Until were legally divorced we shouldn't be involved with anyone physically or emotionally… if we are struggling with this we can go to Him with it… as pleasing God should be first on our list and it shouldn't feel like a chore but a joy to do.
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