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.
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.