Posts Tagged With: movies

Playing with Fire

The river looked so peaceful tumbling over the rocks and through the snow-covered pine trees. The road weaved through the narrow canyon, the rock walls towered above us.

The kids had been teasing all morning to find a sledding hill and we hadn’t driven all the way through the canyon by our house since the flood almost two years ago. Perfect excuse to go on an adventure. A year-and-a-half and countless hours of hard work by so many people had masked much of the devastation the river had caused, but in several spots it was still apparent. We commented on the stretches of road that had obviously crumbled away to the high waters and admired the incredible strength the raging torrent must have had as it tumbled down the mountain. Mud slides where the pine trees and boulders had eroded away from water with cement-like consistency and strength. We had seen the devastation on a very real level that day as my husband’s half hour commute turned to four hours, and I panicked as I weaved around roads almost submersed in water to rescue my son from school, which they had closed less than an hour after the students arrived.

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The civil engineering that had fixed the broken roads and made the canyon passable a mere six months after was impressive. But what caught our eye more than anything else were the houses. Some hanging halfway off a cliff from undercutting, windows still broken, walls gone, some houses even moved from one location to another. Some still in the midst of repair, others abandoned. Nothing left to salvage.

“Why would anyone build a house so close to the river?” My husband’s face showed genuine concern and disbelief. Having dug mud out of basements for many weekends following the flood, he knew far better than I did the pain and work this had caused families.

The answer seemed obvious. The peaceful little stream, the majestic mountains towering around us, the pine trees so romantically enveloping the little cabins. Quiet, serene, beautiful… fun. I could see plenty of people jumping at the opportunity. But just a few little rocky steps down from the front porch trickling by was a danger that should have been obvious. It wasn’t the first time that river had flooded, and chances are, it won’t be the last.

I never had even heard of the books, and the movie would have gone unnoticed to me had it not been all over the Internet. To be honest, I still don’t really even know exactly what it’s about. 50 Shades of Gray has obviously caused an uproar. The newspaper this week devoted an entire article boasting of the film breaking box office records. What I do know about it is that it has left us questioning our moral values as a society. And for me, I don’t plan to watch to find out any more than that.

In a world that all-too-often seems to scoff at moral values it’s increasingly important for us to stand up.

Because if you play with fire you will get burned.

As attractive as something may seem, as romantic, as fun, as cozy, if potential dangers wait just right outside the door, it’s probably not worth the risk.

Porn harms. Period. Movies, pictures, books, whatever. If it creates strong emotions outside of a healthy relationship, it’s wrong.

Affairs, physical and even just simple, seemingly harmless emotional ones can devastate a family.

It can start small. Lingering a second too long on that magazine cover at the book store. A simple flirtatious comment to a coworker. Confiding in an old high school fling about a little spat with your spouse. When we cross that line, we are laying the foundation right at the beaches of a potential raging torrent. It may seem at the time like a stream, but why take that risk?

Let’s decide now. Let’s draw a line and never cross. If we can’t set the example, if we can’t show our children that our families, that our spouse is worth so much more than riverfront, flood plane property, who will? Obviously not the media.

Up the canyon and past the flood-devastated homes my family found a fantastic sledding hill. With red cheeks and giant grins, my boys mounted their sleds. My husband cheered with each tumble and jump, and we had a wonderful time. I can’t imagine giving something so incredible up for what originally might seem like a simple little look, a quick witty comment, a seemingly harmless movie with degrating and erotic content. The grass is greener where it is watered. Where are we going to water? No matter how wonderful the property may seem, if danger lurks in the shadows, I hope we will all choose to build our foundation on something more sure and strong.

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Second Chances

We hadn’t been the movie theater since before kids. Movies are just so incredibly expensive! So when my parents gave us a Fandango gift card for Christmas, we knew we had to make it the best movie experience ever. That summer we saw that Toy Story 3 was in theaters and we decided that was it–the movie we’d been holding out for. Our oldest was two, my brother-in-law (who loves Toy Story) was in town visiting, and the gift card was starting to burn holes in our pockets. Now or never, we thought. We even invited Grandma. This was going to be so fun!

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I had high hopes for this adventure. Being the first time we had gone in years AND being R’s first time to the movies, I was determined everyone was going to have a good time. The smell of way-too-buttery popcorn was thick in the air, R was enthralled at the monster screen just ahead, and we had our pick of the best seats in the house. The previews began and the first twenty minutes went off without a hitch. R was full of questions, but that came as no surprise. Suddenly, about ten minutes into the movie my motor mouth two-year-old went silent. Something had to be wrong. As I leaned over to ask if everything was ok, out of nowhere he got sick. Everywhere. The floor, his chair, himself, me, the arm rest, grandma…NOTHING was spared. No parenting book had prepared me for that. How on earth do you handle screaming, sick child, smelly, disgusting mess everywhere, in the middle of a dark, crowded room? Thank goodness grandma was in the next seat over because I froze. After a few dozen rolls of paper towels and apologizing profusely to fellow bathroom goers we had ourselves a semi-clean boy and a new reason wet wipes are a mom’s best friend. The guys met us outside the bathroom and explained how they’d tried to clean up the best they could by the glow of the giant screen, then went out to tell a janitor of our little mishap. I felt terrible. Terrible for my poor, sick son, terrible for Grandma and Uncle J having to help clean up a yucky mess, terrible for wasting that gift card, terrible for the janitors, terrible for ruining the movie for everyone sitting in that theater that now, no doubt had to smell it the rest of the movie (if they could even manage!). That night I will always remember as my crash course in toddler humiliation 101.

Here we are 4 years later and we have yet to set foot in a theater. The trauma of that night has lingered in the back of my mind, surfacing every time the suggestion of seeing a movie arrises. Parenting has a funny way of humbling you and reminding you that no matter how good you are at split-second solutions in sticky situations, your toddler can dish you a doozy that totally throws you for a loop.

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I can think of countless times in my life when one bad experience has tainted my view of something, caused me to form an unfair opinion of someone, and ultimately prevented me from giving that someone or something a second chance. So many opportunities I’m sure have been lost. Having three lego-obsessed kids, I would have loved to take my boys to see the Lego Movie, but my fears of one spewing all over the audience held me back. Because something happened once doesn’t mean it always has and always will. In life we have those moments. Moments we stumble, or get sick at the movies, or offend, or terribly mess up, or are wronged. When that happens, when that humiliation ensues, when the pain is too much to handle, the easy thing to do is quit trying. To give up. But that’s what life is all about! Messing up, having a bad day, failing miserably. Then picking ourselves up and trying again. And again, and again. Life is about second chances, allowing ourselves and others to step up to the plate and take another swing. Where would we all be without that?

For all you movie-goers out there, don’t worry, we still haven’t worked ourselves up to going back. It could be a while. But when we do I promise I will have plastic bags, a bucket, towels, wet wipes, water bottles, a mop, extra clothes for everyone, maybe raincoats…you know, just in case. Cause if you don’t learn and change, what good is that second chance? 😉 Someday we’ll give the movie theater another try. We’ll sit in those big, bouncy chairs, smell that buttery popcorn, and enjoy more than the previews. In the meantime, I hope we can give other bad moments, other people, other failures a second chance. Cause that’s what life’s about. And when we fail, and I’m sure we will, we’ll pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and try again, and again, and again.

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Categories: Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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