Saturday night Tom and I watched Riding in Cars with Boys, an old Drew Barrymore movie from 2001.
I missed it in 2001, along with a lot of other movies that came out during that time, plus or minus 3 years. We were busy with kids and preparing the foundation for our house.
If you're like me and missed it back then, in a nutshell Drew plays a smart girl who gets pregnant at 15 back in 1965. It devastates her family, especially her father, so hoping to make peace, and against her better judgement, she sets her dreams of going to college aside and marries the father of her child. He ultimately becomes a drug addict.
Based on a memoir by Beverly D'Onofrio, it's not so much a tragedy, though, as a story of friendship, determination, and ultimately, forgiveness. The ending caught me by surprise and I cried - not just "teared up" but cried as the credits rolled.
It was a good, cleansing cry, though... tears that are triggered by hope.
That's what I took away from the movie, a message of hope that love is so strong, it can survive for years buried deeply under pride, hurt feelings, disappointment... all of those feelings you open yourself up to when you allow yourself to love or even just care about another person. I think it's that impression they make on your soul that can't be filled or matched by anyone else or anything.
But relationships can't stay the same, because we don't. We're constantly changing and so is everyone else.
When you accept that ... when you don't take other people's decisions personally... when you don't clog up the connection between you with pride, you're usually able to hang on to that relationship, at least in some form.
It probably won't be the same. It might be better... it might be less. But without it, you won't be wholly yourself. There are extreme situations, of course, cases of physical or mental abuse, but I'm just talking about ordinary friendships and families that get tugged and pulled and stretched thin by life.
In the movie, the characters finally stopped focusing on the things that separated them. They each chose to reach through all of the junk they'd piled up between them and at the moment they connected, those piles became dust, losing their importance. It took a lot of courage, knocking aside all of that pride, but the movie points out how rewarding it can be when we muster that courage to forgive. Totally worth the risk.
I believe we are each the sum of other people.
I believe every cell of our body connects us to family, past and present... Every person we encounter in life, each friend who touches our heart, leaves an impression on our souls... The books we read, movies we watch, songs we hear, become filed in the library of our minds, words and thoughts given to us by another for us to ponder and use to tweek our own thoughts and apply to our experiences.
We are all connected, yet we are also unique, because no one has the same combination... We are each on a different adventure, following our own distinct path that might overlap and twist tightly with another's but will never be exactly the same.
And that's why I've been sticking my nose into other people's business lately, even before I watched the movie.
I resisted, believe me. I think there are times when you just need to mind your own business.
But two dear friends of mine who once-upon-a-time were the best of friends to each other had a falling out a few years ago. Somewhere along the way, something happened. I don't know what... I only know that one decided to cut off all communication with the other and I was left in the middle.
My friendship with each continued just as it had. It went on that way for years, but something came over me this week and I stuck my nose into the void with an email, asking for some kind of communication with the other. I didn't ask what happened to cause the rift. I don't need to know. That truly is none of my business. But as their friend, I believe their friendship is my business and I should at least try to help them make some kind of re-connection for their own sakes and peace of mind.
It's possible I've lost a friend over this, but I couldn't stand sitting back and witnessing this any longer without trying to do something.
And then it happened again. I found out that two friends of mine who I knew had been really good friends not too long ago had drifted apart. One told me his emails and phone calls had gone unanswered, so he had just accepted it and moved on, although he had no idea what had happened or if he had caused offense in some way. It had been three years.
I couldn't help myself. I sent an email to the other one. Turns out, the second friend had been going through a tough time; his mother had dementia/alzheimer's and he had spent all of his free time caring for her. In the meantime, the first friend had changed emails and phone numbers and wasn't on Facebook, so he had given up trying to contact him.
I provided all of the contact information and stepped back, with a good feeling in my heart.
So be forewarned... I'm a busybody and not ashamed of it. You're important to me.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. ~ Matthew 5:9
Disclaimer: I'm not trying to be holier than thou. Even at the moment, I have a nephew who isn't speaking to me because of an argument we had a few years ago. I believe in forgiveness and acceptance, but not in letting other people take advantage of you or lie about you.
God says "Love your neighbor as yourself", which to me says we first have to love and respect ourselves in order to love others.
But I do believe in giving others the benefit of the doubt, accepting their humanity and flaws (and hoping they accept ours), and trying to understand what they're going through.
Most of all, I believe in forgiveness and the power of love.
So you should know that if you don't want me to be your friend, you're going to have to work really, really hard at it. I don't let go of people easily.
We do not need to seek for love, we only need to seek and remove the barriers we have built against it. ~ Rumi