“Say Anything” on Thanksgiving

Bad news wafted into our home yesterday. It was too much to smell at once.
 
I was in the middle of writing. Thoughts were swirling and pulling me back to my car accident and coma which took place 19 years ago. My heart was steeping in thanksgiving as I replayed those memories. God’s hand had redeemed my life.  He protected me.

God is good. All the time.
 
But then my head started hurting again. Here came another blow to my head, once my wife shared the news with me. Yes, some things stink. And make you want to sink into another coma.

Of comfort.

Thanksgiving is a risky movement whenever we make it. The enemy despises the key change. He tries to silence it. Or at least tone it down to pianissimo. Anything to steal, kill, and distract.
 
But we must focus, and raise our voice. Fortissimo possibile.

As loud as possible.
 
I’ve always liked the soundtrack to the 1980’s classic “Say Anything” — almost as much as the movie. Over the years, this Cameron Crowe film, starring John Cussack as Lloyd Dobbler,  has resonated with me as a mythic and familiar story.
 
In one scene Diane Court, played by the actress Ione Skye, struggles with understanding how life can pull us back and forth between circumstances, an ongoing tension of extremes. She’s even developed a theory to describe it.
 

“I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things. But I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just, I mean I don’t know why they have to happen at the same time, I mean, I don’t know why, I just wish I could work it out… Am I just babbling? Do you know what I mean?”

 
Yes, I do. I get it.
 
I get how we long to work out the problems. Ourselves. We want to understand the tensions and know where they lead. We want to control our lives.
 
And if we’re lucky, we’d love to write our own score.
 
I love my wife. And I love her more than Diane Court — and not just because things never would’ve worked out between us, though our differences in age and social status seemed so petty at the time. 
 
But over the years, among other things, I’ve learned my wife is a good deal wiser than Diane Court.
 
This came to mind last night when my wife punched out a status update. She made a bold and beautiful declaration, despite the bad news. As soon as I read the words, I knew they were worthy of Crowe. Or even Bartlett.
 

‎”…and just like that, today’s thing becomes yesterday’s thing, while the thing yet unseen is about to become the next thing, which will ultimately be the best thing.”

 
Did you hear that, Diane? Good and bad will converge. Things will come, and things will go. It happens every day. And we can rarely hold them together on our own. 
 
Yes, Diane. It is confusing. 
 
But thanksgiving is simple. Thanksgiving is uncomplicated. And it keeps us from babbling. Thanksgiving is a posture which keeps us pointing.
 
To the next thing. Because — no matter what — God is faithful. 
 
I like the end of “Say Anything”, because it closes with the hope of a new beginning. Lloyd Dobbler and Diane Court are sitting on a plane and holding hands. They’re waiting for the ding that will tell them that everything is going to be okay. So they can unbuckle their seat belts, so to speak.
 
And I hear this exchange:
 

Diane: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
Lloyd: No. You just described every great success story.

 
But can I just tell you one more thing, Diane? Don’t put your trust in a ding. It’s bound to become “yesterday’s thing”. And keep your eyes open for those things “yet unseen”. 
 
You can study their convergence, Diane. Or you can look up. 
 
With thanksgiving.

Fortissimo possibile. 

 

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22 thoughts on ““Say Anything” on Thanksgiving

  1. I have missed all the Thanksgiving posts while we communed with the family by the sea. I’m thankful I didn’t miss this one. It’s been so long since I’ve seen that movie and I only remember how profound it seemed to me at the time I watched it. I may have to pay a visit to the friendly neighborhood video store. It’s always about the stories for me. And you are telling a good one with your life, I would wager to say.

    • Well, I’m glad to hear from you, Laura. Always am. And I’ll support you in that decision to visit the video store. But do those places still exist? I hope you’re not confusing decades too much.

  2. You were wise before your time even though you had no
    idea LOL…because you married a wise woman and you are
    both keeping your eyes open for those things yet unseen! I’m so glad that He protected you during that accident. Your wife’s status and your post reminded me a bit of the way C.S. Lewis writes! He creatively speaks truth with wisdom as do you! Abundant blessings to you and your family, every day!

    • The things unseen. Yes, we’re looking for them and believing for them. It’s an exciting journey, isn’t it? Thank you for your kind and encouraging words today, Lorraine. I’m always thankful for how His Spirit flows through you. Keep looking and listening for His marvelous blessings, okay?

  3. Matt I cannot put into words how lovely it is to see your thoughts on my computer screen. I remember the days following your accident and how it was one of the first times that the “big bad world” came to Eastbrook. As young adults in high school, we had not really had the opportunity to experience the possibility that something could happen to one of us. I’m sure you don’t know this, but Alicia Buteau and I came to see you while you were in your coma. It was surreal seeing you but not knowing if you would be with us again. How awesome is it that God had big plans for you?! Congratulations on your beautiful family. And keep writing. Your words are inspiring!

    Dede Bragg Flaherty

    • Oh, Dede, what a blessing to hear from you on Thanksgiving.

      The reality of the “big bad world”. Wow. I guess we all felt it and experienced in our own way, didn’t we? So surreal indeed. It’s a reminder for me, too, that sometimes the most important things learned during those high school years don’t always happen in a classroom.

      Yes, Alicia reminded me the two of you had visited me. You know, it’s funny how the things we do for others may not make any real difference for them in that particular moment. But then, two decades later, our actions and service can warm someone’s heart with the very love of God. Thank you, Dede.

      And thanks for your encouragement. May God warm your heart, too.

  4. I am thankful for my friend who recommended your blog. What a lovely way of writing you have. Diane Court’s theory on the good and bad things happening simultaniously hit home for me. It is a dialoque that swims around my head constantly. My life was perfectly happy until one day depression found me. I want to control this beast but some days it controls me. I am waiting for the “ding” to tell me I’ll be OK once again. The “ding” for me has been my faith in God. Some days the sound is louder then others but it is there, I just need to listen more closely. Thank you for sharing you beautiful writing skills and your love for our Creator. Your writing has blessed me.

    • Thank you for this comment. Thank you for sharing “raw life” here. Life is hard. Some days life feels downright inpenetrable. Your hope and cry for a ding is universal.

      We all need a savior. And you’ve found Him. Praise God.

      From your words, I sense an honest, broken spirit. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You are loved and beautifully made. Even right now, in your present condition. He’s walking among your stormy waters, even when you don’t see Him or hear anything resembling a ding.

      I am blessed by your words. I am praying, right now, that you will be blessed by His Presence. He’s walking with you. Find His loving eyes. Look inside. He has so much for you.

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