I was reluctant to see “He’s Just Not That Into You.” My fear stemmed from two places… the place that says, “This movie is a cheesy chick flick and smart women don’t see cheesy chick flicks.” And the second place was the raw place that says, “You may be able to relate to this movie more than you would like to admit.”
But then two smart girlfriends asked me to see the movie at 10 a.m. last Friday. The thought of going to a movie at 10 a.m. thrilled me and because I trust their choice in movies, I found myself buying buttered popcorn for breakfast. When my boys asked why I was going to a movie in the morning, I said, “Because I CAN.”
Some may deem the movie cheesy, but to me there was some substance. Without dissecting the entire twisted plot, I left swearing I would NEVER, yes I’m yelling NEVER, do that again.
That is that thing we all do when we are trying to make someone feel better. When we’re trying to convince our friend, and probably ourselves, that she is not a loser. That there is some hope, I suppose.
Here’s an example from the movie. I can’t remember their names, so I’m making them up because I’m in a hurry. Susan and Jane are talking. Susan tells Jane she met a guy at the grocery store. They spoke and traded business cards and she felt this instant connection to him. Great, says Jane. Not so great, says Susan, who tells Jane he’s married.
This is where the that comes in. Jane goes into the “there’s always hope monologue.” She tells Susan that her Aunt Sally’s Friend’s Sister was married for x amount of years and then she met someone else, quickly fell in love with that person, got divorced and now has been happily married for xx years. It’s all because she found the REAL one she should have married instead of the first one, who clearly was NOT the one.
I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But that is one story. ONE STORY. That is not the norm. And even if it was the norm, is Susan supposed to take that story and make it her own? That was Aunt Sally’s Friend’s Sister’s story. Period.
It was riduculously exaggerated in the movie, but how often do I offer such empty words to my friends? Ugh, I hate to even think about it. And how often do I hear these far-out stories when somoene is trying to comfort me and know they are only feeding me false hope… because it’s the exception.
And it’s not me.
My story is unique to me. There are similarities with others and surely I can relate to a lot of situations, but the true story of my life is only mine.
If I take these “comforting” stories, I am likely to create another version of the story I am meant to live. I start authoring the plot and the characters and completley miss the characters and plots that God has authored for me. Oh how I try to fit my story into my own life, thinking it is surely the one I was meant to live. I ignore the story that God is writing, stomping my feet that life is not fair. So I run. I hide. I drink. Or eat. Or shop. Or sleep. Because I can’t deal.
Then I come back. I come back to God because God doesn’t try to comfort me with stupid stories like that of Aunt Sally’s Friend’s Sister because he is so much more creative than that. He writes stories that include mystery and tension and sometimes a heck of a lotta joy, and a helluva lot of pain. Yet, since I’ve grown up a little, I can say that I love feeling the joy AND the pain. I’m not saying I like pain. I’m saying I like being able to FEEL the pain. Big difference.
So the next time anyone tells me about their aunt or friend or sister, and how life turned out for them, I will smile politely and – most likely – change the subject. I will let the words slide off me knowing that that is not my story, knowing that my friend means well and wants to offer support.
I will go about living my life as God authored it, one day at a time, knowing it will hurt sometimes and knowing I will hate it sometimes. But I will hold on not to an elusive hope of someone else’s life, but to a hope that I can trust. A hope that when I am willing to stay in the moment, I will gain healing and maybe even a bucket of happiness to go along with it.