Take a load off, Susie
I watched a movie yesterday. The name of it was Peace, Love and Misunderstanding. And you all know how I like to weave books and movies and life together into a neat, beautiful and highlighted French braid. So here I go again…
This movie is about Forgiveness, one of my favorite themes, and was criticized for its “cheery insistence that everything is just super”. Well these critics were wrong. P,L&M may have the slight lavender-scented odor (or in this case reefer stench) of chick flick but everything was not super. The Jane Fonda character – “hippie” Grace – had a very positive attitude toward all things and her estranged daughter character – straight-laced Diane – played by Catherine Keener, did not.
I have two mottoes by which I try to live my life.
1. Attitude is everything.
2. Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
P,L&M also starred Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Jude – an American Javier Barden doppelganger. Sexy. Sexy. Sexy. I will be looking for every movie this guy is in. People! You can have all the young pretty boys. Give me these men any day of the week.
There is a scene between Diane and Jude that goes like this.
Jude: Did you ever consider letting it all go?
Diane: Letting what go?
Jude: The fight. Yes. Let it go. Like a balloon floating away. It’s not a balloon, it’s a sandbag you need to let go to get off the ground.
Another scene they stand together at a mike, obviously she is thawing by now, and sing The Band’s “Take a Load Off, Annie”. The load is anger/the fight, folks. And the guts of this movie is the forgiveness that a happier Diane finally bestows upon her well-meaning, idealistic mother Grace. Diane lets go of the fight, and also literally – the balloon, which is sappy indeed. I admit it. But let’s not pan the whole movie for one hokey scene which I’m sure that Grace, if she were real, would have loved. Ultimately, Diane learns that trying to have a good attitude and trying to live positively is better than the cloudy, uncertain existence she has been living for 45 years.
I wrote a blog last September called Forgiveness. Which I took down the next day. Most people responded very positively but since it upset someone very much, I took it down.
In this blog, I said among other things…
I want to be a better person. I try to be a better person. I think – Am I doing the right thing? Have I considered this from all sides? Was I just unkind? Did I remember to say thank you. I’ll call him now and say thank you just in case. Is that person having a spectacularly awful day and it is splashing on me? What can I do to make my life better/OK/good even though this nimrod is trying to wreck my day/life. And maybe I am taking things too personally. Maybe someone who appears to be trying to wreck your life is so absorbed in their own misery, they don’t even realize what a god-awful thing they are doing to you.
So forgiveness. I think the lack of it on my part may be the top thing that keeps me from being the best I can be.
And then I referred to My favorite activity – blaming myself for everything.
I want to forgive. I want to not be mad about stupid things people do.
Forgiveness. Being a better person. I believe I should be above it all. But I am not.
I think without these thoughts, and with forgiveness, I could be a much better person – maybe closer to the good person I want to be. And I’m not sure what to do about it. Except to carry on. And try. But am I too hard on myself? Am I too self-absorbed? Do other people think like this? Do other people wish they could forgive?
And don’t get me wrong. I’m a generally happy person with a pretty good life. But I want to be better. I want to be happy and sated, like a big fat smiling Buddha. Peaceful. There’s a Joni Mitchell song – The Same Situation and a line – Caught in my struggle for higher achievement. This line describes my 50’s. My sixth decade. My struggle for higher achievement. I want to be better . I want to be more. And I’m trying.
Writing the original Forgiveness blog helped me a great deal. I was laid off all last summer and didn’t post a single essay to WordPress from June 12 to September 3 because Forgiveness was bubbling inside me and blocking me. So here I am taking a small run at it again. I have spent more time thinking about forgiveness. I always do. And I’m doing better. I have been accused of being incredibly naïve and I think that is somewhat correct. I always expect the best from people. I always think people are honest and true. And that is not true. But we must consider that when people close to us hurt us badly, they may not realize the deep gash they are making in our hearts.
You see, I continue to insist cheerily that everything is just super. It helps. Attitude is everything.
I’m out here, still trying to take the load off.