“I can’t wait til’ movie night…” says Emma.
“Yeah, me neither.” Says Andrew. “It means I don’t have to take a bath.”
“Andrew, what do you think we’re going to watch?”
“Something awesome… but not too scary.”
They know it’s coming. They know it’s a break from the usual routine. It’s something they look forward to. We all do.
Friday rolls around and after we clean up from dinner, we announce “movie night” and they completely flip out. Their eyes light up. They squeal with excitement. And then they actually run around in circles before bolting up the stairs to find PJs.
It’s a comical scene. Even though we do this nearly every Friday night, it doesn’t get old. Their response is the same every time. Pure, unfiltered joy. Total elementary ecstasy.
So much so that once the movie starts, it takes a solid 15 minutes for the wiggles to wear off.
In fact, it’s usually right around the time we meet the villain or run into the first big problem that they go from joy to something else.
You see, my son hates the villains with a deep hate, from his guts. He scares easily and as soon as the music shifts, he knows something bad is coming and he hides behind a pillow. There have been tears.
My daughter loves the perfection of the first part of the movie. The exposition is her favorite part. The world is big and perfect and only full of heroes. The flowers are bright, the sun is out, the water is clear, the birds sing, the princesses dance and all is the way it was always meant to be.
Then there’s this shift and the kids both know it’s coming. The colors change, the music changes, perfection and heroes are gone. The world is full of weeds or desert. It’s dark and haunting and imposing and small. There are no more birds or dancing. Something is terribly wrong.
Right about then, they want to turn the movie off. They don’t want that part. She wants perfection and princesses. He wants heroes and happiness.
The ideal movie would be a 2-hour mashup of the first few minutes of all their favorites. Just the parts before the problems arise. The moments before conflict comes into the picture.
“But they can’t all be happy all the time”, we say.
“Why not?” They ask.
“Because if everything was happy all the time, it wouldn’t be the whole story.”
Friends, struggle is an essential part of life. It’s necessary to our being. It’s a native tongue. Struggle is THE love language.
It’s probably the only thing that every single one of us can do on our own without any help from anybody else. Yet we run from it. We hide it from others. We pretend it doesn’t exist. We attempt to elevate ourselves above it. We hide behind the masks of Sunday morning perfection.
I’m great. Thanks for asking.
I’m blessed. You?
And then there are the invisible lies. The one we aren’t courageous enough to utter out loud. The worst kinds of lies are those that are untold.
We live in our own “exposition mashup”. We live from one happy, perfect moment to the next. When the villain comes in we get up and leave. We turn it off. We try to start over.
Struggle is part of the story. It’s part of the whole story. It’s integral to victory. It’s a precursor to success. It’s the reason for grace.
Live well. Love hard. Struggle often. Fall occasionally. Stand again.
And always, always, tell the whole story.