Why We Loved the Movie: Life Itself

Date Night for 1 Year
December 2017
Last night Danny and I saw Life Itself and loved it. Being big movie goers we had seen the previews, knew the cast, and read the descriptions…. it was our type of movie: a way of looking at life (like: 50/50or Wish I was Hereor Stronger). But when it came out the reviews were not very good. Initially this started to deter Dan, but thanks to an afternoon visit to a brewery with our friends and my brother, he gave up the fight and gave into my persistence to see it.

 

As you may know from following us – movies are a big part of our life. We use them when going through tough seasons, waiting on test results, after the death in the CF community – as a way to cope. In our world nothing can replace heading into the dark coolness of the theatre to escape into another world. So when one of us really wants to go, the other knows there is something we are working through that begs for an escape.  So we went and saw it….and the verdict: we loved it.

 

Danny and I see life extremely differently then the rest of the world. In fact when it comes down to it, I think that is why I have a blog, wish to write a book, and feel the need to get that message out into the world. For so long, I tried to make our life fit into how the rest of the world sees it – in the big sense and also throughout all our different trials. If I could make it match up, even faintly, then I had found a way to prove that we weren’t that different. Then I would feel good because we found a way to do life, despite. This sort of thinking almost killed me, destroyed my marriage, and potentially worst of all: left me with a surface faith and really sad way of seeing the world. At this point in my life I have learned through the good and the bad, the hard and the easy, that we aren’t normal and how we see things is a gift. Finally choosing to explore that truth also gave me a huge realization: no one’s life is normal. No one sees life the same. Everyone has trials and struggles and things we don’t understand about our lives and the lives of others. Trying to fit into what we all think is the right box or on the right path or success is the curse of humanity. There isn’t one…… and chasing it isn’t about being “right or wrong” or “good or bad” – its just sad. We are chasing something we are never going to find … that isn’t how life works.  Life Itself told that story.

 

If you keep reading, I am going to share the reasons why we loved this movie.  However, we do understand why others might not: it challenges how we feel about life in a very real way. But I am not going to say anything specific. If you see the movie and want to talk about these lessons and the scenes we see them play out, let me know. Maybe we will do another post. However, I do risk a confusing post. Can you understand it without talking through specific scenes? Who knows…. but I gotta give it a try. We got home from his movie and I just started to write…. I had to…. this movie was so powerful.

 

We can’t worry or be safe enough
Hi my name is Jackie and I am a worrier. First step is admitting it right? Yup, I worry because in my mind I believe if I try to control something enough I can change it. I can be organized enough, I can be safe enough, I can be enough – so things only go right. Worry comes from the belief that control is the answer and actaully, it is not. Things happen in life that we could never, ever predict, let alone control. Does this mean I should go running with scissors? Ummm, no. Come on guys – we can still make good choices to the best of our ability. But in the end  life happens and we need to stop believing we can prevent that through worry. Danny isn’t a regular hand holder …. it is limited to: when your getting a double lung transplant, when your wife is crying at church, when the doc brings you bad news, or when you need to feel connected to each other. At points this can drive me a little crazy, but on the other hand, I know when he does reach for my hand that I log that moment in my heart – we are one. Last night there are many scenes where he grabbed my hand for me, then scenes where he grabbed it for him, and eventually we just ended up holding hands through the rest of the movie. This film reminds you that life happens…… and we have to just do our best to survive it.

 

We can’t control other people
This is a lesson I am fairly certain I will be spending the rest of my life working on. We can’t control other people, but if we want them in our lives we have to accept them for who they are. This movie reminds us that who they are is not just limited to the words they say, actions they take, clothes they wear, choices they make….. in fact to truly accept someone in the most honest form to allow for actual love and kindness: you accept the whole person. This means the emotions they don’t verbalize, the actions they wish they could take, the person they dream of being, the person they will become. Its the whole being and those we have in our inner circle deserve to have that whole love. Sure, there are interactions between people that go better if we say the right thing, stand up and try to help them, ask them to stop or start, or encourage them to take a path. But as humans we are never going to be 100% right 100% of the time. If you truly love someone though – you can learn to love them in all their forms. And even if that love doesn’t look they way it is “supposed to” …. it can be real and powerful.

 

Bad things will happen and we will all die
For so many reasons you would think that death would be something that is pretty easily accepted over here. But Life Itself reminded me that we all will die someday and there is no telling how. Danny and I have been spending a lot of time talking health through exercise, diet, and life choices. In some ways we joke that CF may be trying to kill Danny more quickly – but my affinity for soda and donuts is pretty much doing the same thing. Working on health can be about living longer – but in all honesty, it really is about feeling our best right now. This moment is all we have and we want to feel strong, happy, healthy in it….. but in the end there is nothing we can do to prevent bad things or death. And how we will meet our maker is already decided….. that hit me in such a powerful way while lounging in my movie recliner.

 

Faith is life giving
So all these feelings of life is already decided for us…. we can’t do anything to stop it….makes you wonder about being so rigid and such a rule follower. It had me thinking a lot about my faith. Catholicism is often criticized for being so rigid, for being so black and white, for being exclusive and demanding. Not always desirable things when you come to faith for acceptance, love and answers. Last night’s move there are topics that come up that challenged my faith like divorce. For practicing Catholics that topic can seem so easy: it is wrong. However in real life application it is certainly more complicated than that. So why then is it so black and white in faith? That is a complicated question that I don’t seek to answer here and the movie doesn’t answer – but one of the story lines in the movie reminded me that saying something isn’t good for you isn’t always about condemning people – rather it is about encouraging people to fight their humanity (pride, anger, jealousy) in an attempt to get the most out of their life. And sometimes, we are just too human that it isn’t possible. But rather than being concerned about who is being right and wrong….. I think it would be better to just feel empathy for those who are not able to get past their humanity and be in the life they have chosen (whatever that looks like – staying married, staying alive, choosing divorce, choosing death etc.). And in the end we don’t have the ability as humans to decipher why someone makes a choice – only God knows that. Thus we can’t truly anticipate how he will handle the choices made on earth….. we likely should do our best to let that stay between each human and their maker…. and just do our part to love the broken people that we all are.

 

And as I excited the theatre I thought…. wow. If the power of empathy makes me look past judgement and just see people as creatures trying to be their best – God’s love for us must be so huge….. he can see us with empathy and know the whole story. That is a love that is only of a higher being.

 

All of us are able to achieve greatness
Greatness exists for anyone who wants it. And when I say greatness it can be fame or fortune or living life with peace and purpose. We can all find our stride, our internal power, the ability to keep living beyond the hard stuff…. if we are able to feel the pain, get the necessary help, sit with the emotion, then stand up, shake it off, stop the blame game, take off our victimization and keep walking. Every single person has that opportunity – but it is the hardest part of being a person and not everyone will choose to do it. It is hard work and completely opposite of how this broken world wants us to live. However if you seek it and can withstand the struggle you can do it too. We just have to not be afraid to actually own our humanity and harness it (mistakes and triumphs) to proceed. If we do we will find purpose, peace, and love.

 

So there you have it ya’ll. The powerful things I felt during this movie, Danny and I shared when staying up late to discuss the movie, and why we think this film is amazing. If you are interested in seeing it I will caution there is language and scenes with violence/gore. It is rated R….. but if you are willing to ignore the f-bombs and can turn away if blood bothers you (me…) – go see this movie. It is powerful, beautiful and honors the human experience. Maybe it is just us, but we love when movies  do just that and it is a gift to see the way someone else seeks to understand this life. Telling our story, we hope to do the same, so we are grateful for anytime someone else chooses to do it too.  Happy Sunday!

 

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!
Jackie

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