Today I’ve been thinking about the movie Bounce.
Though it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster sensation, I’ve thought about this movie so many times over the last 7 weeks. I LOVE how this movie addresses one of the most difficult aspects of grief. It is by no means a brilliant movie, but there is one scene in the movie that has been on my mind constantly since Charlie died.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays the wife of a wonderful husband and the mother of 2 sweet boys. And Ben Affleck plays this guy who meets her husband at an airport bar one night. Ben is in pursuit of a girl he meets at the airport and Gwyneth’s husband wants to get home to see his wife and kids, so at the last minute Ben offers to switch tickets with Gwyneth’s husband. And then…the plane that G’s husband is on crashes in the night. Ben feels horrible for switching tickets and comes to apologize to G, but then he falls in love with G and her boys. (Sorry, I’m giving away the whole sad movie…I often do that. My husband loves this about me.) Anyways, there is a moment in the movie when G doesn’t know that B changed places with her husband…she just knows she’s falling in love with B and its hard for her. Gwyneth says to her friend, “By falling in love with Ben, it feels like I’m saying that I wanted my husband to die. Like if I’m happy and I WANT this…then it means, I wanted him and his death, and I’m choosing Ben over him by being happy. It feels like no matter what I chose, I feel like its wrong to be happy.” (This is a loose quote obviously.) But then her wise friend replies, “No…its actually not like that. You haven’t been given that choice of who to love. You only get to chose or not chose this.”
I’m not sure if that brief and dazzling movie synopsis made sense, but I think about this constantly.
For instance, today a friend and I took our kids to the beach. It is a gorgeous spring day here, and there was a moment when I saw the sunlight pouring down on sweet Sophie’s little face and I thought, “What a great day, I am so happy to be at the beach!” And then I remembered that Charlie was not with me. And it felt hard to feel happy. It felt like I was saying, “I WANT this and I chose this.” But I would never have chosen this. I would never have chosen life without Charlie. I would so rather be stuck at home with a newborn, deliriously exhausted from lack of sleep, and sick and tired of nursing a baby. I would rather have Charlie here in my aching arms. But I haven’t been given that choice. I can only chose or not chose joy in the sunshine at the beach. I can only chose or not chose joy in the life before me today.
Every moment of life feels like a Bounce Moment at this point. The reality of Charlie’s death has propelled me into a whole new life and a whole new set of experiences completely unexpected by me. Expected and ordained by God…but completely shocking and foreign to me. It feels like each day is a gift that is being handed to me by God…and I hear Him say, “Will you trust me with this unexpected life.” Will you walk with me? Will you take my Plan A? Will you chose me? Will you chose knowing me in my Plan A for your life?
And this is true for all of us. Will we? Will we chose joy in our unexpected lives? And more importantly, will we chose God? I am convinced that no one has the life they always wanted, exactly the way they always wanted it. And if you have, well then, suffering will change that at some point. At some point, we are all given something we do not want. Will we trust our Sovereign God in what He hasn’t given us…so that we can know Him in what He has?