I love movies. Matt would be hard pressed to find an evening in or out where I wouldn't rather pop in a movie or plop down at the theatre and get lost for a little bit in the drama. I'm not sure how I would answer the question of what my favorite movie is but there are a few that have stuck with me for one reason or another.
One of those is the movie "Unbreakable" directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Bruce Willis.
It's not a life-changing plot by any measure and it presents with a very unlikely story of a man that has hidden superpowers which in fact, makes him "unbreakable". The sequence of the events leads the audience to come to hope and eventually embrace that there is a real life possibility of a superhero (and villain) that live among us outside of your classic comic books.
The reviews were mixed back in 2000 but I walked out of the theatre with a sense that I understood myself a little better than I did before I went in. I so deeply related to a scene in the movie and in a way, it reassured me that while I would never be a superhero, would very much "break" if presented with a strong enough opposition and am no were near as cool as Mr. Willis...
I did have a calling.
About halfway through the movie, David Dunn begins to accept what his little boy knew all along, that he had the ability to sense evil and go forth to correct it for good. He dons a security cape, steps into a train station and simply stretches out his hands to allow people to bump up against him and reveal their personal depravities.
As one person and then another rush past him, he becomes suddenly aware of what they have done and is bombarded with the pain and concern of the actions of each offender. Eventually, he decides to act on behalf of the victims of one particular perpetrator and after an altercation, saves the day.
So, what does this have to do with me?
For as long as I can remember, I have had a keen sense when someone is hurting or in pain. Whether it is a good friend or stranger sitting alone at the cafe, it was almost like I could read faces and feel chemistry. I never told anyone about this...(I wouldn't call it a gift)...."ability". It's not something that I can help or ignore. There have been times when I have been deeply entrenched in my own struggles and sorrows and yet, still, I am aware of the emotions of those around me. I'm often nauseas after certain events like a funeral or a visit to an airport where everyone is saying good-bye and I'm completely drained and worn out after a full Sunday at church. Raising my children has been challenging in this regard because I have learned them so well that it only takes a little red in the eyes or slump of the posture and I know that something is wrong. When they are sick...almost unbearable.
If you've ever been hurting and shared that with a group and then gone home and thought to yourself, "I am so sad. I know all of those people seemed concerned but now they are back in their houses with their own stuff and not even thinking about me."-you're wrong. I would be the one in the group that is not only thinking about you that night but well into the rest of the week.
This is very handy for keeping me up-to-date on my "thinking of you" cards when someone is going through a trial!
Lest you read this and think that I am bragging, I can reassure you, I'm not. There have been many, many days and events that I have wished that I would have tunnel vision. That I could shake the dust of another's hardship off my boots and come back home in freedom to relax.
The biggest irony, and I know it probably doesn't seem ironic to most, is that God has opened my life and my heart to Biblical Counseling. I know...makes sense, right? Person who is aware of pain and hurt should be helper to people in pain and hurting.
I don't know. It seems-not fair, sometimes. Shouldn't this blessed ministry go to someone stronger, with thick skin, who can balance their help and their home with much more wisdom?
I guess this is on my mind because I meet with several people a week, young and old, couples and singles and I'm coming off my last appointment. I also lead a crisis accountability group on Tuesday nights for some dear women who have long since become sisters in the faith and share with a transparency and genuineness that would knock your socks off.
After my sessions, I take notes to keep myself updated on each case and this involves reliving the hours again.
Tonight I got called on an emergency visit to a woman who has miscarried and is suicidal.
So many hurting people.
My memory sees all of their faces from this week, their tears and heartaches. They fall and they get up again with God's amazing grace but their knees are still skinned. They have unanswered questions that I have to encourage them to leave unanswered at the feet of Jesus. They have been victimized, abused, abandoned, and betrayed. They are stuck in habits that are terribly hard to break and a darkness that seems overwhelming. All of this, and I haven't even gotten to church this Sunday!
I feel like David Dunn and I'm in the middle of a battlefield...I don't need a cape because I have the armor of God and as person after beloved person brushes up against me, I am intimately aware that life is hard, people are desperate and I am completely inadequate in the process.
At the end of Thursday, when I drop exhausted in my bed, I only have one hope...
There is a Messiah and it's not me.
There is a real life Superhero and He came 2000 years ago and He is acquainted with our suffering. His arms were outstretched for us and continue to reach toward us as we, second by second, depend upon His mercy and grace. He is everything. He is sufficient. He is enough.
I don't resent my special ability much anymore. I'm pretty sure I will die much younger than my peers and have been known to pop a prozac or two on most days. My emotions are frazzled but God's Spirit gives me the supernatural ability to rest in His sovereignty over the lives of those in my path and to be able to laugh and sing and dance for joy that I have such great hope.
And the memories of the faces that have surrounded me this week and every week are treasured. They remind me that life is about something bigger than myself and my small problems. They cause me to cry out to God in the middle of the night. They make me love when I want to protect myself. They urge me to keep going because the time is short and laborers are few.
Unbreakable, I am not.
Abundantly pardoned and utterly dependant in my brokenness...definitely.