Yesterday’s message at church was on relationships, and our pastor encouraged us all to watch ‘Fireproof’. His words were: “It wrecked me.”
Yeah. It wrecked me, too.
I’m still processing. We watched it tonight at small group, and I knew it would be emotional. My kids had seen it in the theater when it came out, and they told me I’d cry. They’d been with their dad – they said he cried.
I reacted to the movie in a few different ways – and not as I expected. First of all, it was rather cheesy in some respects (something our pastor had warned against. He said not to bail on the movie because of any production or acting issues – to stay tuned for the message). Actually, I found the production to be fairly decent. Some of the “preachier” moments were what got me. But more about that later…
I watched the story unfold expecting to feel guilty. As a divorced woman, one who can clearly see her mistakes in hindsight, I was prepared to feel beat up, reminded of my own sins. To my surprise, none of my reactions lined up with guilt, shame or condemnation. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with my own recovery or the gentle grace with which the movie delivered its story.
My overwhelming reaction was one of sorrow. Deep, deep sorrow -the kind that I feel when I hear of a marriage that is broken, when I see two people unable to reconnect, when I talk to a woman seeking love outside of her marriage. This movie connects in a powerful way with those emotions. Divorce hurts. Brokeness hurts. Emptiness hurts.
It was impossible to watch the movie without connecting, in some way, with the characters. I’m not sure if that’s everone’s experience, but it was mine. In some objective fashion, I was able to see the husband and wife and relate to both – and to shed some healing tears of forgiveness that had much more to do with me and my former husband than the characters on the screen.
That’s profound, when a story can reach that deeply.
I thought a bit about the cheese factor, the stereotypical “come to Jesus” scenes…and I am thinking that maybe that’s a large part of the grace of our faith. See, I am very caught up each week in church; in creating worship experiences, connecting people, leading, discipleship, etc. It’s important to be relevant and present and authentic and all that. There’s not a lot of room for cheesiness in the world in which I operate.
But this movie, and the emotions it triggered, got me to thinking: maybe cheesy isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe those stereotypes, that simplistic explanation, the corny scene with the father leaning against the cross…maybe there’s just enough truth there to allow us to relax, to get past the glamour of production values, celebrities and strong story lines and just take it for what it is. Because, truthfully, that’s what most of us are dealing with.
Still processing this. Grateful to the folks who made the film. Thinking about my own history, thankful for a chance to forgive.