We survived both, and today the sun shone bright and clear as the day dawned. It was a beautiful late summer day; the remnants of Hurricane Irene are to the right and left of us, as our road is still closed to thru traffic due to a power line that is laying across the road. Limbs still litter yards and power is still out in some places.
But I awoke this morning to an empty house, cleared out early today when everyone left early to serve at church. Except me. I'm still on my study break, and so I awoke later than usual. Had coffee, surveyed the yard and thanked God for sparing our trees, mostly. Showered and headed to church in time to sit with a friend and worship God.
It is a good thing, this going to church. I work at it so hard in my regular life that it always takes me by surprise when I just go. I sing the songs they sing and let them carry my heart. It was good today to sing these words: "Take this heart and make it new / make it true / make it like you / take my hands / I lift them high / they're yours, not mine so do / do what you will / do what you will...." And the song grew in power and the lyric cried, "I'm ready now / I'm ready now / I'm ready now / Do what you will..."
I sort of feel like that. So it was good to sing that song. Especially good to be led by my eldest daughter, back in town after a summer away. She sings beautifully and she worships with authenticity and she led her mom (and others) well today. The message was powerful, as well. Fresh and focused and one of those that will stick with me throughout the week. I'm glad I was able to simply go to church today.
(If you missed the service and would like to catch it, you can do so here. That particular song starts around the 19:30 mark.)
After church I took my girls to lunch. We shopped at Target and then met up with two other friends to see The Help.
What an incredible movie. I read the book last summer and had no idea I'd be so moved by the film. It brought up feelings of shame and pride, sometimes simultaneously. I think it's particularly moving as a woman, though I wouldn't classify this as a chick flick - it's a great history lesson and a well-written story, and I intend to ensure that my boys see it. But as a woman, it's shameful to see how we - as a gender - are capable of such horrible harm. In this movie, it's not just an issue of race, although that is the primary story. The depiction of the level of cruelty and just plain meanness of which we - as females - are capable is quite disturbing.
We have great power in us; power to lift up and encourage, power to harm and destroy. We can manipulate and scheme or we can be humble and vulnerable. I have seen women do terrible, deceitful things with apparent ease.
I have been such a woman. Most of us have.
This story contains brutal depictions of true-to-life "mean girls", while it also demonstrates incredible stories of redemption and courage. None of these characteristics - negative or positive - are limited by race.
In one of the most powerful scenes of the movie, Aibileen, a central character, confronts Hilly, who represents the worst of the movie's blatant racism. Hilly has just maligned Aibileen's character, accused her of thievery and cost her her job. In the midst of her righteous indignation, Aibileen gets in her face with a good bit of indignation of her own; and then, grace settles over the tense conflict with these words from Aibileen's lips:
"Aren't you tired? Aren't you just tired?"
We are called to walk in the light and to live in the truth. It can be a hard road, but the end result brings wholeness. Scarred, for sure - but people are better people when we can safely be who we are, tell the truth and be vulnerable. And it is true indeed; expending energy trying to be who you are not, or consistently maintain power at the expense of common decency, is tiring. Living a lie is exhausting.
Powerful, incredible movie that will make you think. Highly recommended.
And here are a few glimpses of the joy I carried with me today, hanging out with two beautiful young women:
|Planning dinner recipes for the week with Chef Sarah...|
|Yeah, she's just awesome.|
|And we tell her so.|