Friday, August 1, 2008

Lessons from "Penelope"

The credits just stopped rolling... The curtain fell on a beautiful story. For fear of ruining a great story for you, I will leave out the details, but tell you the essence.
It was this story of a girl who was born under this curse, that caused her to be... well... not the prettiest girl ever. Her mother didn't really help, because she hid her from the world, and her only goal was to rid her of this curse. This ugliness that, she felt, consumed her daughter's life. Instead of instilling in her a sense of freedom, of hope, of love of self, she instilled in her fear and doubt.
Though the tale is fictional, the story is so real. A story of how when you truly love yourself, or someone else, there is something magical that happens, that goes so far beyond what is skin deep. Maybe that's why I am so drawn to the story. Drawn in by characters who though fantastic in the film, are so familiar. The boy who loves her despite what she looks like, but looks deep in her heart. The mother's fanatical ranting about looks. Those girls who always make fun of you no matter what. And one timid girl, who lives her whole life thinking she is unlovable.
I know all of these people. In one way or another, I've encountered them, and at times, been them. It's on odd thing how the beliefs we instill in others are so crucial to what people believe about themselves. Because the mother believed her child was ugly, and repeatedly told her so, the daughter couldn't break the curse, which could only be conquered by the love of self.
Donald Miller talks about this in "Blue Like Jazz". He writes this chapter about romance, which is so deeply poetic and real, that i remember my eyes misting up the first time I read it. Don's friend is talking to him about marriage and how God shows His love for us through marriage. He then goes on to talk about loving others. How, for whatever reason, we seem to gauge the love God has for us, by how much others love us. He says that is why God tells us to love one another so often.
As beautiful as those words are, they are also extremely convicting. Honestly, it's a lot easier to make fun of the "fat girl" or the "smelly kid" then it is to embrace them, see beyond that, see beauty, and love them.
And I don't mean that "I have to love them, but I don't have to like them" type love. I mean real true love. The type of love that changes people. The type of love that makes your heart hurt when they hurt, or makes you laugh when they are happy. That type of gut wrenching love, that turns you inside out. Where you would die for them without thinking, but more difficultly live for them.
That's the type of love God has for us. This agape, never ending, deep in your soul, you are the most beautiful thing in the world even when you are stepping on my heart, kind of love. That's the type of love He asks us to have for one another. To look past the horrors that may lay on the outside, to the deep pools of the heart.
Honestly, I am so far from there. I can love the smelly kid, the prostitute, or the homeless man, but I have a real hard time loving arrogant people, lazy people, and rich people. Yet, I'm called to love all of them. We are called to love all of them. Whether our country calls them enemies of the state, or our friends call them enemies in the lunch room. We are supposed to love like Christ loved the church....
what would that look like, considering he died for her?

No comments: