Monday, February 05, 2007

Learning How To Separate This From That

Do you ever do things and not understand why you do them?

Here's my prime example of that: I'll watch wonderful old black and white movies or tv series, then I'll pop downstairs here to the computer and research the actors who interested me most. I'll read about their life at the Internet Movie Data Base--and then nearly always-- I'll feel sorry I did.

Why? Because often my favorite stars from these old shows, well, they usually died young of some disease ... or were murdered... or committed suicide (or had children who did so)... or were married a zillion times... or were alcoholics... or basically just lived one sad, painful year after another.

I'll read their outlined biographies and feel bummed-out about their (sad, depressing) life for a day or more and regret that I read about these people in the first place.

And then the next time, I do it all over again.

Years past, if an actor had had an awful life/death, I would then avoid watching more of their movies because I couldn't sit there and just watch the movie, no, I'd sit there feeling horribly sorry for the actor... what he/she must have suffered during the filming.... and I'd peer deeply into their eyes, wondering if they'd had any clue about their awful, future demise.

Or something a bit related to that--if a current star in his/her private life stood for everything which I was against--even if they appeared in a movie with morals that matched mine--well, I would boycott their films (quietly, with no fanfare). I could not separate who a person was and what they did. (As my favorite teacher says, I couldn't separate their 'who' from their 'do.') I held their beliefs against them and avoided any show they appeared on, good or bad.

Ok, probably half of you are thinking, "What's wrong with that?" And the other half are shaking your heads and muttering, "For goodness' sake... Grow-up!"

Well, I did grow-up. Mostly, I've crawled out of my overly-sensitive skin, with only an exception or two (which I believe is still allowed, given this freedom of choice thing from God...)

I mean, I can think of two actresses (still living) whose movies I avoided for 20 years (!) simply because they, outside of their movies, stood for things I hated. Yet in the past couple years I've watched a few of their films and I must agree--they are superb actresses. I can admit that now and I can enjoy them on film. And no, they haven't changed--but I have.

And as for the older, now-deceased actors whose lives were tragic--I can view their movies now, too (on the most part). Finally I've come to terms that Life is all about our choices and our choices take us places. And Life has never been easy, almost never goes the way we plan, but it's always an adventure... And to any life there's a beginning and an ending--God planned that and only He knows what that end will be... and I need to leave all those details to Him. And mind my own business.

But what I'm noticing most is my growing ability to separate what people do and what they are. And with that one thing has come the ability to love those whose choices are so very different than mine--and to pray for them.

It's hard to pray for someone you cannot stand.

God gives me no strength to hold grudges, but He gives me all I need to hold people--His creations-- up in prayer.... to pray for those who oppose God and harm themselves... and to watch their movies when I choose to do so.

John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

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