I remember the first time I watched “You’ve Got Mail.” It was at the Cameo Theatre in Newberg. My friend and I paid for the Louge (the dollar-more-expensive padded seats that rock) and had to sit on the edge of the row because it was the last two together. I had snuck in Ben and Jerry’s Sugar-Free New York Super Fudge Chunk, cause I neeeeeeeeded it. And the movie began.
I never knew that there would be so many quotes that would directly pertain to my life. You know, that kind of movie that seems to blend in to your life story so you don’t know where one starts and the other stops because some of the memories are of quoting the movie with others whose lives have similarly blurred lines. Or just truth: plain truth.
Today the wisdom of Joe and Kathleen is the following:
Joe Fox: [talking via email, to who he doesn’t know is Kathleen Kelly] Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condecension has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away… you zing them. “Hello it’s Mr Nasty”. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about…
Kathleen Kelly: [talking via email, to who she doesn’t know is Joe Fox] No I know exactly what you mean and I’m completely jealous. When I’m confronted by someone I get tongue tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend the rest of the night tossing and turning over what i should have said. For example what should I have recently said to…
[meaning confrontation with Joe]
Kathleen Kelly: …a bottom dweller who recently belittled my existance.
[stops and thinks]
Kathleen Kelly: Nothing… even now days later I still can’t figured it out…
Joe Fox: Wouldn’t it be great if I could pass all my zingers to you, then I could always be nice and you could be nasty whenever you wanted to be. Although I must warn you… when you eventually have the pleasure of saying the thing you want to say at the moment you’re wanting to say it… remorse eventually follows…
Lately I’ve been sensitive to the Mr. Nasty in me, around me, in other situations, seeing Mr. Nasty in places that he’s not even present, or not noticing his presence until BAM: oh, there you are, Peter (another excellent movie).
Instead of mastering the art of the zinger, I’d like for the zinger to be gone. Or for the inclination to zing to be transformed into . . . something else. But what? And how do I hand it over?
When I find myself muttering in the shower, when I over zealously stir a batch of Super Sloppy Joes (not a good move), when I’m snappy with my family for little unimportant things, that’s a sign that things are not in a happy place. I don’t want to just Be Happy; I want to be Real, and reality involves Suffering. I want Blessings instead of Cursings. I want Peace like a River. I want all-permeating Transformation, in and out and around me.
The glib answer bouncing around in my head says, “Look to Christ! You know, He went through all that and more” [insert condescending look]. And then I want to Zing myself, which is more a mental kick-in-the-shins.
How does one authentically acknowledge the nasty and posture to be transformed to the Good and Real when one feels stuck in a we-have-no-snow-plows-and-have-to-shut-down-I-5-due-to-the-foot-deep-snow-ruts rut?