Monday, June 21, 2010

Which way are you facing?

In the film, "Please Give," Rebecca and her boyfriend Eugene take their grandmothers from their Mahnattan homes to the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York to see the changing leaves. By all accounts, the leaves are stunning this season.

After a few hours on the road, they find a spot and pull over. Everyone piles out of the car, including the two hobbling grandmothers, to look at the trees.

Rebecca, Eugene, and his grandmother stand by the roadside, in silence, enraptured by the mountains and the trees--a rainbow of reds, golds, yellows, and greens.

Meanwhile, Rebecca's grandmother is turned in the opposite direction, looking at a patch of trees whose skinny limbs stretch forth empty and gray. It looks like winter, not autumn. But it's all the woman can see.

Or will allow herself to see. Rebecca's grandmother is alone and bitter. Her only child, a daughter, had killed herself when Rebecca and her sister were young, and the gradmother reared the girls herself.

This tragic loss possessed the woman and robbed her of a life of joy, love, and beauty.

Rebecca's grandmother focuses only on death, her daughter's and her own one day soon. It's all she sees.

In the metaphor of the film, she looks on the empty trees, which presage the coming winter, not on the vivid fall colors of an upstate autumn.

In life, we're looking either toward the barren or the beautiful, toward the tragic and painful or the good and redemptive, toward death or life. We're either looking toward Christ, who is life, or away from him.

And the way we're facing makes all the difference in what our lives will be.

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