Last night, I watched Silver Linings Playbook. Let’s just say, I was not in any way prepared for what I was about to watch. If you intend on watching this movie, let me warn you, it covers what happens when people who go through extreme circumstances and have an extreme response, try to recover. It’s really gut-wrenching, and hits close to home for a guy like me.
It’s really gotten me thinking. Especially in church, we have this perception that when something goes really bad, because we’re Christians, we’re supposed to just respond in the best way. Cry at a funeral, say ‘I’ll miss you in heaven, Daddy, but I know you’re in a better place,’ close the casket, buy an asinine memorial picture talking about building a staircase of memories and bringing them back home again, and move on.
I’m sorry, but that is the biggest load of crap ever. I can’t tell you the things I did, the things I thought, after Mom passed away 9 years ago. This is too public of a forum for that. But when things collapse and crush you, you can’t just cry once, smile, and move on. It doesn’t work like that. I know too many people who are still trying to move on from extreme circumstances for that to ever be true.
Sadly, the same attitude has filtered into so many aspects of a believers life, like turning from sin. Again, we expect people to just repent, turn, and never go back to Egypt in spite of everything the Bible says to the contrary. Its insane. My favorite baseball player, Jason Hamilton, who is a Christian, has a past of serious alcohol abuse. When he had a relapse this summer, he was jumped on. They even went so far as to say he has character issues that might scare teams away from signing him. Guess what? Wars aren’t easily won, and are often long, vicious, and bloody.
I often wonder how people would respond if I told them how I’m really doing, how much I really struggle still, 8 months after Dad’s passing. How many would tell me I need to move on, get over it, or the ever popular ‘look to Jesus to be everything.’ What do you do when you’ve tried that, and you believe that, and it just doesn’t go away? If it’s still a hard struggle to face the next day, and the next, and the next, and it just gets so damn hard to pretend you’re actually happy and enjoying life all the time? (Yeah, this is the stuff I think about before I fall asleep)
It’s kind of funny. We expect such an immediate response, an instant return to ‘normal’ when things fall apart. Even the Bible says it won’t be until heaven that every tear is wiped from eyes, that we will be completely healed. It’s like in Lord of the Rings, when Frodo says ‘some scars go to deep.’ Some scars do. There is no way of going back to ‘the way things were.’ It’s just not gonna happen. And guess what, it isn’t promised anywhere that things will go back to ‘normal.’
You know, that was probably the best part of Silver Linings Playbook. It’s not instant recovery. It’s not an easily achieved, perfect, happy ending. And the things you do in response may just haunt you and follow you for life, which I can easily relate to. It lets you know there has been a lot of suffering for a long time before things get to a ‘new normal,’ and calm down, to a point. It just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not instant by any means. And there is a lot of pain and struggle and suffering to get there. But it will come, eventually.
That much is promised me. I know it to be true, because Jesus promised it. I just might have to wait to die is all. But I will wait, and struggle, and suffer, and experience pain, and keep going, because this is a long haul, and I know it. But the end will make it worth it. Whether that end actually starts to begin in this life or not, it will end. A silver lining is coming, but my best silver lining will come when this life ends. And that makes me happy