Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Deep Color of Green . . . Yes, I Went to the Movies

OK, I admit it.  I am insanely jealous.

I would like to be as beautiful and tall and slim as Julia Roberts.  I would like to have that long hair of hers with its brilliant highlights.  I would like to have the same flowing and varied wardrobe that she managed to jam into her duffle bag so that I, too, could wear a different outfit each day for a year and look elegant and exotic every moment.

I would like to be as beautiful as Elizabeth Gilbert.  I would like to have had a successful career as a travel writer so that I would have years of experience in negotiating new environments.  I would like to have someone hand me a $200,000 advance so that I could make use of the aforesaid experience by traveling the world for a year, and I would like said travels to result in a bestseller of epic proportions.  

I would like to sit in a lotus position and meditate on my deck in Bali.

And I would like for everyone to believe that, as a consequence of all of the above, I am a deeply spiritual person, full of the wisdom gleaned from learning (preferably on Bali, but India will do) that "God is in me." Or something like that.

But . . . alas. 

I am short and round, my clothes come from local and chain stores and are decidedly humdrum, I am stymied in much of my work, and I pray erratically and ineffectively in various locales in the middle of North America.

I am, in fact, on a Great Spiritual Journey, as are we all.  But it takes place mostly in my home and neighborhood, and is not going so well.  I look at my beautiful and gifted friends with whom I went to the movies and I think, I cannot even manage the most basic of conversations in the lobby of a theatre.

I was intolerably bored by the movie, which did not help my conversational efforts.  I won't even say what I think of the book.


A couple of weeks ago, my son and I went to see Winter's Bone.  A magnificently filmed movie, limited entirely in its geography to the Ozarks and in its characters to a small interrelated group of folks largely doomed by poverty and drugs, it follows the story of  a young woman's efforts to seek justice in the face of intractable kin loyalties and to hold together the little family for which she is entirely responsible in the aftermath of her father's disappearance.

Winter's Bone is the story Elizabeth Gilbert wishes, or perhaps believes, she has lived.  A story of unflinching courage and willingness to tackle impossible odds.  A journey of love and generosity reflected in determined sacrifice and tenacity.

I was mesmerized.

Never mind what I said about Elizabeth Gilbert and Julia Roberts.  What I want are the guts and selflessness of Ree Dolly.


  1. Oh my friend....although I liked the book, and as a result won't see the movie, regardless of how much I usually like Julia Roberts, and regardless of the fact that the book pushed me back into meditating, a life long practice I had left a few years ago...I agree that there are many limitations in that book - her own insecurity being more the journey and less about any suffering that comes close to that which many others experience in life. You bet I'd love to have had the resources to have spent this year travelling, instead of how I have. Ok, I have travelled, but not around the world. LOL.

    anyway. You bring a depth and wealth of insight into your reflections on life and your journey which speak with clarity and honesty about church, faith, life, despair, anger, and a hint of hope. You are couragegous.

  2. I think I heard an interview about Winter's Bone, and now you make me want to see it. (The other one? Holds no interest for me.)

  3. I'm with you all the way on that one. Absolutely. Oh, and also the short and round part...alas.

  4. I am very glad that I am not the only one who found the book .... I am lost for polite words. Think will avoid the movie should it ever arrive here.

    I too suffered from conversational handicap with several friends who raved about the insights the book offered. I decided then that we have lived such different lives that sometimes conversations are simply not possible.

    Borrowing from Mompriest whose words I cannot better, I would rather read you thoughts and insights anyday.

  5. Karen! You look like Julia Roberts!

  6. Gabriele - where did you go ?!

  7. I haven't read the book or seen the movie, and I've (mostly) come to terms with being short, round and not terribly chic (except for my glasses -- embrace myopia, I do).

    But I have been thinking about journeys, pilgrimage and exiles. St. Jerome was of the mind that all you needed to learn, you could right where you were. Wherever that was.

    Bali sounds too humid for me. I'm still envious of Sara Maitland's hermitage, or the old chapel I saw on the island off Maine's coast :)

  8. This post makes me very much want to meet you in person. I hope we get to.

  9. Thanks for saving me the trouble of viewing the movie or reading the book. Had my suspicions that it might be what you describe. Ah the beautiful people.....zzzzzz


  10. I ain't short or round and my hair is long, but alas not straight. Are you envious of me? ;')

    I disagree on some of what your "greeness" has said here. I loved the book but we seem to have stopped going to movies. The author has taken a bunch of criticism for having had the time to go on a spiritual journey and finding joy. That doesn't sound right to me.