Have you seen this?  It's a rare thing for me to go see a movie before I've read the book, but when I first saw this book be published, I felt an odd reticence about me as I toyed with the idea of reading it.  It didn't strike me as being 'my thing,' and I felt vaguely repelled by it.   I'm still not sure what informed my intuition at that time - or even if I trust my intuition all that much - but as I watched the movie (alongside some varied, excellent and lovely female companionship, which definitely redeemed the experience for me), I realized anew that this just wasn't my thing. 

I've never been a huge Julia Roberts fan, though I can stomach her, a claim to fame my husband can't confidently make for himself.  For me, the actress and my level of enchantment with her wasn't the problem.  I think that the main character's - Elizabeth Gilbert's - journey to 'find herself' seemed futile and empty.  My mother-in-law always used to say, "wherever you go, there you are," and I believe it to be true.  I think that real enlightenment comes not from running away from life and it's accompanying problems, even in the name of mind expanding exotic travel, but from facing them and deriving strength from slowly growing courage borne of that act of standing up, shoulders back, staring them down and realizing that even this may not 'solve' anything, but that maybe that's ok.  Strength can sometimes come by degrees - inch by inch - almost imperceptively until the gift of retrospect shows us how far we've come.

I've always felt saddened and discouraged at the Eat, Pray, Love notion that God is within me and that I am in some little understood sense, God.  I need for my Creator to be significantly better than that.  To see better, I need to look outside myself.  Maybe I'm just more icky than your average professer of these beliefs, but I need a greater Hope.  A stronger, more loyal Love.
 
 
Picture
From Flor Larios' Etsy Site
I hesitate to tackle this.  The topic overwhelms me.  My family and I attended the Good Friday service at our church and were overwhelmed by Christ and His actions on our behalf.  I felt humbled and blessed and deeply in love as I watched each of my Loved  Ones weep as we made our way through the Stations of the Cross.  These  Loved Ones are  not bawlers and each of them cried.  Only Jude felt up to braving the "Jesus' Suffering" station with me and as we left early, me holding his tiny-yet-enormous shoulders, heaving as they were, I felt strong within myself, thinking that if ever there were something in the year to weep about, this is most emphatically, most blackly It.  I feel stunned into uncharacteristic stillness when I think of what Christ did for me.  I think of my selfishness, my various and sundry superiority complexes, my vanity, my pride, my gluttony, my "Martha" complex  and all the rest of the sin that so often characterizes who I am while still living on this Earth.  I think of all of it and the great divide between it and me and the Perfection of a Living God and I want to cry of shame, of joy, of thankfulness and of a renewed awareness of my smallness.

This year, for the first time, I looked upon a replica of the blood-stained grave cloths and realized, for the first time, that they probably were blood stained.  I realized that I'd been believing a sort of cartoon version of the Easter Story, a dumbed-down version meant to be more palatable for the refined sensibilities of the Hoity Toity.  While never exactly embracing the bunnies and the chicks and the chocolate, I've been glossing over the viciously hurled insults as He hung there, leaking out life.  I've been forgetting the anguish of His mother as she watched it all unfold.  I imagine that she wished to be dead herself, seeing His lifeless body hang there, so absent of her Son.  I rarely consider what it must have been like for the sky to turn black  in the very middle of the day as He died.    I've been taking what He did on my behalf that day on the Cross lightly and I wish to do so no longer.  I see my children understanding in their childlike, faith-filled way and I wish to emulate them.  They cry as they remember their Lord's sufferings and the profound appropriateness of this centers me.

I've always loved and felt relieved by this quote: 

Be comforted. It is no doing of yours. You are not great... Be comforted, small one, in your smallness. He lays no merit on you. Receive and be glad. Have no fear, lest your shoulders be bearing this world. Look! It is beneath your head and carries you."
  • C. S. Lewis, in Perelandra