Thursday, September 1, 2011

PS I Love You & Paul

The other night I found myself in an exhausted heap on the couch watching PS I Love You.  Nothing in my life has every worn me out like being the primary care-giver for a 2 year old and an 8 month old.  I am tired to the bone every night and I often find my rest in books, movies, ice cream and the occasional generous glass of wine.  Last night I popped in PS I Love You for the 874th time because I love it and it called to me from my DVD collection. 

I have had a love for Kathy Bates since I was about ten, and this movie is no exception.  If you haven't seen the movie it centers around Holly, a very young widow who is searching for healing and wholeness after losing her husband to brain cancer.  Her mother is a hard-knocks bar owner and has been doing the single parent thing for years since her own husband left her.  She isn't cuddly or soft in any way and when she talks it's always to give advice or speak her mind.  She loves her daughter, but as you watch the movie you get the feeling that years of fighting life have made her tough and taken away any softness she started with.

Around every corner of the film I found myself enthralled with her character and totally jealous.  For one Kathy Bates looks a lot like my Mom to me, and for two I would have given anything to have a hard knocks, wise mom spurring me on and speaking her mind.  For my entire twenties my Mom was so far gone to depression we didn't really have any conversations of substance.  I ached to be able to speak to the woman I knew that she was behind her illness and pain.  She was the star of the school play and a cheerleader, they all tell me she was so bright and fun, but I never got to see it.

I long for something very simple in my life, to have my parents back.  To have a dad coming over to fix the sink or a Mom giving me more advice that I care for on trivial stuff like cooking or kids.  I hate the big Mom and Dad shaped holes in my life.  And sometimes the sheer size of them sucker punches me to the ground.  And I curl up in a ball, and it sucks so bad.  A lot of days I find contentment with it, but some days I just can't.  

Check out Philippians 4:11 - 14

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles

So this is written by a guy named Paul, a rock star of a man who traversed the known world and told a million or so people about Jesus.  He did all this while being starved, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and flogged within an inch of his life.  And yet he was content.  

Think about the very legitimate things we struggle with and ask for prayer on.  Broken relationships, loss, abuse, neglect, divorce and illness.  For me, I struggle with death.  I miss my parents for who they were and who they could have been.  I am in the process of finding contentment with my life but I still have moments of sharp jealously.  I get lumps in my throat, I cry big fat tears.  When I see grandparents holding brand new babies:  jealous.  When I get a call from a friend and her dad is there fixing her sink: jealous.  Honestly, anytime I hear a friend use the words "Mom and Dad" in reference to their parents it seems strange to me.  I don't use those words much anymore.  It's weird I know, but it is where I live.  And I am learning to find contentment in it, even though it sucks and it doesn't seem fair.  

What are the things you are praying and longing to have?  Like me, your prayers and longings may seem normal and natural.  So why do we have to be content with gaping holes in our lives?

I don't know why we have our specific holes and gaps, but we do.  And if you look around you'll find many people with gaping holes.  Maybe not the same ones as you, but so many of us have them.  

I am jealous of parents and I want my Dad back and I want to go on a walk and get unsolicited advice from a mom like Kathy Bates.  

I don't know where you are in your journey today.  But I can tell you that I know what its like to hear about the idea of contentment in the midst of immense pain and to scoff and get pissed.  How dare God call me to be okay with this crap?    I've been there, asking Paul where he gets off even suggesting such a concept. I can't make it all better for you, but I can tell you contentment comes with time and I can assure you that it is so normal to long for something natural you are missing out on.

I can also promise you that God fills the gaps in time.  Through beautiful people and lovely moments of healing.  His healing is a miracle every time.  So just take one step toward contentment today, that's all you have to do.  Don't hold on to your anger for dear life.  It's okay to have it for now, but you don't want to buy it a collar and turn it into your pet.  It'll just bite people who ring your doorbell and pee all over everything, metaphorically speaking.  

Paul didn't have food, a wife, kids, a home or a functioning body.  And tons of people spent their lives trying to kill him.  So he has room to talk.  Just saying.  

Contentment is a battle worth fighting.  To be honest, your life depends on it.  Please contact me if I can help you on your battle.

Those are my thoughts, a penny for yours?  

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