I love movies! One of my mentors would say, “It would probably be a sin to know how many I own,” so I won’t give a number. I’m definitely not to cinemaphile status, but I’m working on it :). I am also always looking for good recommendations (hint, hint, wink, wink).
I was thinking though, that as much as I love movies, they sometimes do a disservice to relationships. With movies you’re able to get perspective on what a character is going through by the carefully crafted story line & cinematography the screenwriter and director use. Plus, within the running time, stuff gets wrapped up pretty well in a bow—not so with our day-to-day.
Bummer that you and I do not get the luxury of Spielberg, Eastwood, or Lucas crafting a tailored back-story to the person on the other end of our situation, interaction or disagreement. And wouldn’t you be nervous if a Del Toro or Tarantino were writing your flick—eek! We have so much more dimension than a 2-hour plot line will allow and sometimes bows of closure are in short supply.
But this is exactly how some interactions go, where most people see and judge us in our present circumstances, in the 2-hour plot line. We are not seen in the totality of our life before or our future ahead.
Notice I said most people—most people may not be you. But I myself am guilty of this very same action. Where I have reacted without regard to the history of a person that caused them to act the way they did or say what they said. I apologize to anyone that has bore the brunt of my shortcomings in this way and I forgive those who have done it to me.
But isn’t that the story of our lives. That no one by looking at us would be able to know the battles we have gone through, the joy & sorrow that defines our lives, and the journey up until they meet us.
I noticed about myself how I previously have tried to fill in the back story to people I just met so I feel justified if something that I say or do comes off awkward to the other person I’m interacting with. It’s a poor substitute for embracing my shortcomings and also has given other people too much sway over dictating how I act (my people pleaser syndrome).
In thinking about movies, Shrek came to mind. Both Shrek and Princess Fiona are ogres and hiding who they are for different reasons. Shrek fully embraced who he was but isolated himself to not have to deal with those different than him; those who treated him poorly for what he was born like and couldn’t change—not that he would have.
Fiona, on the other hand, was trying to hide that a spell had made her an ogre so she could fit the mold as a princess. Since no way would it be acceptable to the masses for an ogre to be a princess. Fiona wasn’t able to fully accept who she was until someone saw her as an ogre and loved her in that state. And not only that, but Shrek was able to start letting people in because someone didn’t seek to change who he was either.
Take a small inventory right now. When was the last time you had an encounter with someone and treated them based off of your own presuppositions and not in the totality of who they are? Who you thought they should be instead of who they are right now. Or when was the last time you were on the receiving end of that opinion, assumption or judgment? No bueno! This is not where I start using excuses for how I act or what I say. But because of my always wanting to fit the mold, I have often tried to hide my ogre-ness because admitting and embracing it would not be princess material according to the masses. And not being able to accept myself also made it hard to fully accept others.
Personally I am working through not letting things that have been done to me & experiences that I’ve had affect my interactions with others. I am also trying to not be ignorant to think that others are not acting out of their own demons or working to overcome them as I am.
Real life: that’s super hard—mostly because people are difficult. I’m half kidding.
But in all seriousness, the reality is we are truly affected by our exchanges & relationships with people. It is an amazing power that we can be someone’s Shrek; that our interactions with them may be pushing them towards wholeness or being yet another thing that rips at the seams they are barely keeping together.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite portions of C.S. Lewis’, The Weight of Glory (great read btw), where he writes,
“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and that backs of the proud will be broken…There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit…”
While I believe our lives are written with intention and purpose, we do not get the script ahead of time to anticipate the next scene with who or what we will interact with. All the people we will meet or the circumstances we encounter will be pieces of developing the fuller picture of who we are intended to be, which is better than any Hollywood director could capture. May we each be drawn deeper into wholeness and live boldly into our ogre-ness!
Until next time…Live as a Masterpiece!