This week’s (Feb 14-20/14) movie of the week is… Up!
I’ll never forget my first genuine face-to-face experience with a clinically depressed person. She was a teenagers in a youth group where I was a youth pastor. I was only there a year but Joy and I got to know her and her mom very well. She was a delightful young lady. She welcomed me to the group by pushing a piece of over-frosted cake into my face and up my nose. She was pretty, smart, had a great sense of humour, and seemed to get along well with her peers. But many mornings she couldn’t even get out of bed because her depression was so strong. Sometimes on youth trips she would have to leave with another adult and get a good cry out. I didn’t understand depression then. I knew that there was something to this sickness but I just didn’t know enough yet about it. Some of the young men in the group would say things like, “She just needs to quit being lazy, get out of bed, and cheer up.” I felt they were being judgmental and mean by saying this about her, but I couldn’t figure out how to answer them. I am very sad to say that it was just a few years ago that I found out this wonderful young woman died. She had committed suicide.
That experience was almost twenty years ago. It still pains me to think about it. I am haunted by thoughts of what I could have done to help. Perhaps you have a similar story. By now, most of us understand that depression is real and debilitating. But we still have more to understand and more grace and compassion to learn.
It’s funny. For some reason we seem to have a kind of phobia when it comes to troubles with the brain. If our arm is in a sling, we would be glad to tell others the story if they ask. If we have diabetes, people would probably find out pretty easily, and that wouldn’t bother us really. We’d probably get asked questions that we would answer without thinking anything of it. For Pete’s sake, even if someone has irritable bowel syndrome we’d talk about that with maybe a bit of a red face, but nothing more. But if we suffer from an addiction, depression, or some kind of brain-stress-related sickness, then forget it. We’re not sharing that information. That’s personal!
Now Up is a very happy movie. It’s sweet, fun, funny, and sad at times, but I wouldn’t say depressing. But this character, Carl, I believe is one who we can all identify with. He’s a grumpy old man, but we don’t mind. Mainly because we see his history, which is a beautiful and sad story. We don’t start hating him in the movie because he’s a grumbling sourpuss. He even hurts someone physically when acting out on his emotions that stem from the sting of having lost a loved one far too soon. Depression does that. We hurt people around us. It may seem a bit far fetched to consider Carl as a mental health sufferer, but none of us can truly appreciate the hurt inside of this character as he deals with loss. In this story, Carl had some people and circumstances that helped him deal with his angst. On the one hand, he’s lucky. We don’t all have that. But on the other hand, he is a man of action and he brought those factors into his life. He felt the need to get to Paradise Island so strong that he figured out a way to make his house float in air. We all need to be people of action too. Sometimes it takes getting counselling, which is actually something we all should do, and do often. If you’ve never had professional counselling, just three sessions would be more than worth the money. Expensive? Yes. But so is dental work and eyeglasses. Take action. You’re not crazy. You’re human.
Congratulations Up. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Freida Pinto as Latika in Slumdog Millionaire. In fact, all of the actresses who play this character in different stages of her life are worthy of the best actress acknowledgement.
Best Actor: Matt Damon. I forgot how much I loved Good Will Hunting and I forgot how great he was in this film. I was reminded of it one day last week when fixing a sofa at a home where the customer was watching it.
Best Quote: “If you ever disrespect my wife again, I will end you!” – Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting.
I realize this is a Valentine’s Day themed MOTW, so Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Make sure that you don’t disrespect my wife–or I’ll call Robin Williams.