Monday, September 06, 2004

we forgot about the flowers

In direct contrast to Monster, the inner recesses of my mind flung out something against my consciousness I hadn't thought about in a while.

Ice Castles.

Remember? Robbie "way too cute" Benson and That Blonde Girl who played, Lexie, a figure skater coached by, yes-oh-yes, one of my favorite actresses of all times, Colleen Dewhurst, God rest her soul! Tom Skerritt, who proves some men get sexier with time, rambles about the movie as Lexie's dad. To make a long story short, Lexie wows the people at regionals, she gets a big-time coach and a big-time boyfriend (leaving behind Robbie Benson for heaven's sake and what's wrong with this chick?). Trying to do the dreaded triple axle on an ice rink outside some glamorous party, her blades catch on a chain bundling up the lawn furniture for the season. Whoops. Down she goes. Poor Lexie ends up blind. Not black blind, but enough to see a sort of tie-dye-on-a-white-T-shirt world.

Where are all those big-time people then? They've split. Naturally. Because, as we all know, there isn't a successful person out there with actual feelings. Only blue-collar folks or the poor have feelings, right?

Robbie Benson takes her back, I mean, she is cute, afterall. Colleen Dewhurst helps and Lexie finds herself at the regionals once more. Everyone's abuzz. She skates a flawless routine. Yes, Lexie is back! Will she go on to win the nationals? What about the internationals? The olympics?

Oh, dear. People are throwing down flowers. Tons of them. Lexie can't see flowers! Heavens no! She can just make out the red and blue lines on the boards. And down she goes. An awkward silence, you know that awkward Hollywood silence, settles on the crowd as Robbie helps her gain her feet. "We forgot about the flowers," he says and they kiss. The crowd goes wild. And then a reprise of Melissa Manchester singing, "Lookin' through the eyes of love" begins.

Please don't let this feeling end
It's everything I am
And everything I long to be (or something like that)
How it feels to touch you
I can feel so much
Since I found you
Lookin' through the ey-ey-eyes of love. (big building with violins)

So after Monster, I remembered this movie that I went to see with my Mom. My Mom had terrible taste in movies. She loved You Light Up My Life with a passion. And yet, she also loved serial killer stuff, which actually would have made Monster a big hit with her.

But there it was, a memory I hadn't thought of since she died. Me singing the theme to Ice Castles, her singing along but never getting the words quite right, her cadence more swing than pop. It picked free a piece of the thick crust that envelopes my heart these days after losing both parents, an unborn baby and soon, my life here in Maryland. And I realized that I'm really not fine underneath it all. It's still a mass of raw hamburger meat inside my chest, only most days I can forget it's there. I'd love to say it's something Jesus wants to heal. And maybe it is. Maybe He wants me to address my innards, but honestly, I've been shoving things down so long, I don't really know how to do it without inconveniencing everybody else, especially myself. Maybe Jesus wants me to hurt so I can write the way I do. Which kind of sucks if that's the truth.

I thought I was fine. But I forgot about Ice Castles.

And now, in light of all the pain and crap going on in the world, I once again feel guilty for my suburban angst. We're not allowed to feel this way, you know. Only the poor and the blue collar or disadvantaged are. And while I'm on the subject, if there's one thing that bothers me about the emerging church, it's that only the poor and disenfranchized are worth the effort. That's the place where really serious people minister. Pain is everywhere though. Who will minister to those who don't even feel they deserve to hurt?

Hmm. Maybe Will and I? That sure would be cool.

grace, and sorry about the ramblings. i do try to keep that to a minimum on here.



Blogger Deborah said...

Lisa, thanks for sharing this. I think you are so right about the rampant pain even in the nice suburban churches where, on Sunday's, everyone seems to have a happy face on, and the people who are suffering don't dare speak up because they feel maybe they are radioactive or contagious.

Pastors often end up doing triage for situations that are pretty dire and only they know about if gossip is kept to a minimum, and that often leaves people in the congreation who think, well, "Maybe I should be over this by now" or who can I ask for prayerful help, aren't I just being a bummer for everyone else?

But if people like you don't lead the way in being honest about the hurting and the grief, others remain with it all bottled up inside, wondering if they too are all alone suffering while everyone else seems to have such a waltz in the park with the Lord.

No--they're not waltzing in the park most of them, they're suffering too but not daring to be real about it.

Being real is always a starting point for healing, at least that's been my experience.

One thing that seems to happen when we've got a serious case of the blues is that it seems all the memories we can conjure up are sad ones and we feel like, gee, I can't remember what it was like to feel joyful, and, I don't expect to feel any differently in the future.

I pray that you'll experience joy today, that your sorrow will draw you close to the Lord, draw you into prayer and communion with Jesus and that you'll trade the garment of heaviness for one of praise.

September 6, 2004 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Suzan Robertson said...

I too pray that your pain is washed away with God's peace today. I can relate to your blog. I've had several deep losses in my life, and notice that there are certain movies/songs I simply can no longer listen to as they bring back painful memories. However, experiencing the pain once again is not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it can be quite cleansing. Your post reminded me that I need to keep on the lookout for people in my circle who may be re-grieving. Like Sara Groves said, God's a great recycler and because I've felt such deep losses (parents, stillborn child, divorces) I can recycle that pain into ministering to others. Thanks for sharing this, Lisa. I know this may sound dumb, but I've been grieving for the last two weeks about my dog dying, and your post reminded me that we all go through these things.

PS- Ice Castles is one of my favs...makes me cry every time, no matter how many times I see it.


September 6, 2004 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

"I thought I was fine. But I forgot about Ice Castles...We forgot about the flowers..."

Ah, yes. But the ice castles and the flowers are how we know we are fine...

Every once in a rare while, I think I am over something--or someone. I think I may never grieve again for my father (gone 20 years), or my two miscarried babies (one of which fell out of my body into my hand, 14 weeks along, a perfect baby boy).

But then the Christmas carols start and the congregation is singing "Glo-o-o-o-ri-a, in-egg-shell-sis-deo!" and my father is standing beside me with the hymnal between us which he doesn't need because he sings beautiful harmony to my melody and besides, he knows all the verses.

And I almost don't weep when I remember because I try to remind myself that we didn't have all that great of a relationship except when he sang harmony and I sang melody, which was only at Christmas, after all. But that's the thing--Christmas keeps happening.

I can picture him leaning toward me to whisper into my ear the only thing he could think to say, "Katy, there will be other babies..." and how I didn't want other babies, I wanted these babies, and he was heartless to imagine otherwise! But there were other babies, and he was right, and how could I have forgotten that he and my mother lost their four-year-old firstborn son?

We think we are fine, that we've finally forgotten Ice Castles, that we've forgotten how flowers make us trip and fall. But then we're on our faces again, on the cold, hard ice, feeling. It hurts all over. We're still alive.

September 6, 2004 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Bill Arnold said...

Thank you for the thoughts about suburban angst. I think you may be on to something. Maybe the only viable mission out there is not to the poor and disadvantaged. On the other hand, maybe we are poo and disadvantaged, you know?

I don't want that to just be an excuse, but everybody needs some reaching-out-to, that's for sure.

September 6, 2004 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Lisa, you said, "…I once again feel guilty for my suburban angst. We're not allowed to feel this way, you know."

Just this morning, that very sentiment was brought home for me. It was cemented in my mind by a rather mundane occurrence. My husband did something relatively insane this weekend - he participated on a 2-person team in a 24-hour mountain bike race. Basically, he and his brother spent 24 hours taking turns riding a 12-mile loop up and down the impossible trails of a Western PA ski resort. My 5-year-old and I spent the weekend hiking all over the place attempting to catch him at various points of his ride to cheer him on, take him water, and generally serve as moral support.

So, this morning arrives and I'm ridiculously sore. Although I attempt to work out on a somewhat regular basis, I obviously have neglected the "mountain hiking" aspect of my exercise regime. My legs are not exactly functioning and every step hurts (don't even ask me to climb stairs). But, I didn't dare mention this out loud. After all, it was my husband that pushed his body to the extreme, went without sleep, and actually rode up and down all those trails. I simply meandered around, took frequent breaks, and enjoyed the hotel amenities at night. I have no right to be sore.

But, the truth is, it's not exactly something I can control. While it does make it clear that I am not in the shape I should be, this is where I am, and I'm sore - like it or not.

Isn't it the same for my "life pain" as it is for my "leg pain?" The anguish I feel over past hurts, current frustrations, and future worry point out to me that I may not be as in sync with God as I should be - I don't have that "depending on Him every moment for every thing" attitude that I long to have. So, those hurts hit - but they're there, and I can't wish them away. And I can't say I'm "not allowed" to hurt - just because I can look around and see people much more deserving of claiming pain. I can only acknowledge them, deal with them, take them to Him. And hope that next time emotional turmoil hits, I'll be a little further on in my walk…

September 6, 2004 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

What thoughtful comments today. I especially loved the thought of how when we fall on that ice, we feel the pain, and we know we are alive. And knowing that Christ lived as a man and knows our pain firsthand is a relief if nothing else. But more than anything, when we feel His embrace, it is the embrase of someone who can relate. When I had my miscarriage and my Mom showed up, who had one as well, her hug meant more than anyone else's. Thanks you guys.

September 6, 2004 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger upwords said...


Thank you for sharing some of your heart today. Raw hamburger or not, it was delicious.


September 6, 2004 at 8:24 PM  
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