Saturday, February 13, 2010

28 Days

Spoiler alert. There are details written below about this movie that might spoil it if you haven't seen it. I'm not dealing much with the plot but I do reference it several times.

I just finished watching 28 Days with Sandra Bullock (as Gwen). It isn't the first time I have seen it, and it isn't the first time I've cried during it. This is the first time I've truly broken down, though. It led to a long and very emotional conversation with Gray, which made me think. A lot.

The movie is good. It's about a woman in rehab, and what she goes through. While I've never been to rehab, I've certainly gone through the throwing up, the not knowing where I was, and many of the other things Gwen goes through as the main character. She denies she has a problem, and only after a real emotional struggle does she realize she has much less control than she thought. There's comedy in there, and the show makes you laugh, but it's not about the laughs.

There's a scene in the movie where Gwen's sister (whose wedding Gwen wrecked at the beginning of the flick) comes to a family day encounter at the rehab clinic. The idea is for her sister to say how she feels about what happened at the wedding. Really, that's all she's been asked to do - tell how she feels. She can't do it. She stops talking to Gwen, and starts telling everyone else what a horrid person Gwen can be. Gwen just sits there, for the most part, with only a few muttered comments (at appropriate points, imo). Then the sister gets up and walks off, spouting about how she doesn't need to be there, because she "has a life." Gwen is crushed.

She doesn't give up, though. Later still, Gwen's roommate dies of an overdose, and Gwen realizes just how shallow she had been, and how far she's come. It's a real struggle, and you can see it, but she lets the pain in and embraces it. She's sitting on the edge of a river, just being alone and grieving, when her sister comes to talk to her.

"I should have walked home with you. I should have taken care of you. You were so little, Gwennie, and I should have been better to you." Her sister finally says the words, after a longish talk about her feelings about the wedding disaster. It's a good talk. They discuss their alcoholic mother, and her abrupt death. More than anything, though, it's her sister's willingness to feel GWEN'S pain, to actually stop and come out of her own self-righteousness, to know that Gwen really is trying, and really is hurting, that gets me.

I cried. I cried really hard. As I watched that scene, I realized that deep down inside me, the acidic person that I was became that way because I wanted my mother to feel my pain. I wanted her to know how much I hurt inside. Surely if she could only feel it, sense it somehow, she'd stop hurting me. So I lashed out, making a bad situation worse. My mother, unlike Gwen's sister, has never made that leap, though. That made me cry, because I'd made this (for me) huge realization, and then took it one step further to realize that I could never have that catharsis of a true "sorry" from my mother.

Gray came in to talk to me, and that led him to mentioning how much I have grown in the past 9 years. Yes, it's just shy of nine long years I've been with him and sis. I've grown up a lot in that time. I've gained confidence, found my voice, and recently pushed myself (thanks to seminary) into working past the limitations my mother put on me all those years ago.

I'm no longer a child, even if I sometimes enjoy childish things. I hope I'm never too old to give up my teddy bear. Yet I'm thankful for my growth, for my maturing soul and mind. It's led me to seminary, to New England, to the family I have...

Gray mentioned how my rituals "way back when" used to look very stilted, very much like an amateur drama production. It wasn't bad, and I knew my lines well, but the whole thing was just amateur. I'm not that way anymore. I walk with confidence to the altar or podium. I still quiver a bit in the tummy, yes, but not to the extent that I used to. Preaching in a church comes very naturally, and helping out there comes just as naturally.

I'm not where I thought I'd be, when I arrived here. If you'd asked me 10 years ago if I'd be preaching in a Christian church at age 39, I'd have laughed in your face. Yet it is where I feel drawn to be. That draw is not something to be ignored. My own gods seem not the least bit jealous, and so... I do what I am feeling called to do. Maturity has allowed me to do so.

I shed a lot of tears tonight. Some of it is, I'm sure, from the medication I'm taking. Yet, the emotions are very real ones, based on very real things. I feel like I made some kind of breakthrough tonight. I'm tired, ready for sleep... and I feel accomplished.
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