What God, what?

17 Jan

I’m on vacation in a cold climate so in the last three days I have seen three movies (plus we’re in pre-Oscar season and I’m way behind in my viewing schedule). Oddly, every film I’ve seen has dealt with personal sacrifice, in the form of death for the greater good of others. So I’m beginning to wonder if God is trying to say something to me. 

The films, ranging in quality and in descending order were the BRILLIANT “Grand Torino”, the well executed “Milk” and the almost absurdly melodramatic “Seven Pounds” (nonetheless it still squeezed some tears out of me – as well as laughs). In GT and Milk, two characters are shot; in 7 Pounds, the Will Smith character takes his own life. All three deaths symbolize a legacy left behind for others. Clint Eastwood’s character takes the bullets so that a gang of thugs finally can be caught in a crime that locks them away (and out of the neighborhood they tyrannize); Harvey Milk, although murdered fought effortlessly not just for gay rights but for civil rights, thus leaving a legacy; And Will Smith’s character left behind vital organs so that seven people could live and/or have a better quality of life. 

Now here is where I am supposed to say something clever or that thematically sums all this up. I can’t. I’m still taking it all in. What am I giving my life to? What would I die for? Who would I save?

Two people came to mind as I watched these films. Jesus of course who in His death made the ultimate sacrifice for others (and it’s no coincidence that when the C. E. character is shot his body falls in the position of the cross). And sadly, my mother who like Will Smith’s character was not at peace. She had remorse. She felt her life used up. I don’t condone suicide but the reason I cried in 7 Pounds (schmaltzy though it was) is because my  mom took her life for me. This sounds crazy and self-absorbed but her note reveals it. People close to me (and her) don’t deny it. She wanted to free me from the burden of an increasingly depressed and troubled mother. And when I think of her death, more than anything, I think of the ultimate sacrifice she made for me. In life, there were many things she couldn’t give me emotionally due to her frailties, but ever the mother, she only wanted what was best for me – for me to have a full and happy life. She gave birth to me twice – in physical labor and in death. 

The theme connecting these movies is love. It’s the thread that also connects me to my mother, even in her death.

2 Responses to “What God, what?”

  1. bub January 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    I’ve been asking myself the same question the last couple of weeks. It’s coming into focus more and more. Sounds like you are having a great trip, it must be awesome to visit with old friends and family. Your writing really helps me to come to terms with some of the things MY kids deal with and are feeling through my own addiction. Thanks for that!

  2. lisesletters January 19, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Bub – I’m sure your recovery is an incredible gift to your kids, even if there are difficult feelings attached. Thanks for sharing this.

    Yes, it’s been nice to be away. I fly home tomorrow out of NY. I hope no birds fly near the plane as I don’t feel up for an emergency landing in the Hudson. Memorable as that would be!

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