I love watching movies. It’s a short escape from all your responsibilities where you can turn your mind off for around two hours and just sit, relax, and watch. No thinking required, all you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open and everything just happens in front of you.
Now if you know me, you’d know that I pretty much like most movies. I’m really not that picky, and I’ve got the Netflix account to prove it. (Most movies I’ve watched are rated 3 out of 5 stars) I don’t have any expectations going into a movie, so I’m pretty easily entertained as long as the director can keep some sort of story together, have some decent acting, and maybe throw in a couple fancy special effects. I prefer movies to actually have somewhat of a decent ending, but that seems to be too big of task for Hollywood lately so I’ve caved a little bit on that expectation over the past few years so when a movie does have a good ending, I can be pleasantly surprised.
I’m not opposed to watching a romcom or a suspenseful thriller about the latest possessed house and/or child (seriously, how many of these have been made over the past decade?), but I prefer something a bit more fun. Action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, and maybe a touch of drama and comedy…those are the types of films I prefer. Oh, and zombies. Gosh I love zombie films. They can be ridiculous at times, but boy are they fun to watch. (And laugh at. Does that make me weird? Maybe.)
With all that we’ve gone through in these past couple months, everything looks different. We’ve been through some pretty dark and scary times. We know what desolation feels like. And the world just looks different–so do movies.
I recently watched (over the course of about 4-5 days) the second hobbit film. The movie reminded me of an encouraging email my friend Trey had sent to me a couple months ago, which was around the first week we got home from the hospital. He had just read a blog post by Anne-Marie that said, “this was likely God’s plan all along and there’s nothing we could have done to prevent it” and was reminded of a scene from the first Lord of the Rings movie that he thought applied to what we were going through. Here’s the quote:
Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case you also were meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.
This quote gave me pause and a new perspective to think through over these past couple months. While we certainly wish none of this would have happened to Reagan, we have accepted that this has been God’s plan all along. All the doctor visits, blood draws, diet spreadsheets, careful monitoring, etc—all of it wasn’t going to stop God’s plan. While it gave Reagan a better fighting chance to handle the crisis and resulting brain damage, we couldn’t have prevented it from happening.
That’s been tough to accept, and some days we got lost trying to wrap our heads around it. Thoughts like, “If we had just done this” or “Maybe we shouldn’t have done that” or “Why didn’t we do this”. But we simply can’t think like this anymore because it’s wishing none of this had happened…it isn’t helpful and we end up just beating ourselves up over something that is ultimately out of our control.
Instead, we pray. We pray for healing. Not just in general, but we pray specifically for each area of her body to be healed. We pray for her brain to be healed from the damage that was caused. We pray for her brain to find new pathways and reconnect functions that were lost. We pray for her eyes to center and focus so she can clearly see. We pray for her mouth to regain control to eat, drink, and talk again. We pray for her throat to regain control to swallow both foods and liquids again. We pray for her core to regain control and allow her to sit up unassisted again. We pray for her arms and hands to regain control to allow her to play and do the actions she wants them to do again. We pray for her involuntary movements to completely stop so she can regain her fine motor skills within her arms and hands again. We pray for her legs and feet to regain control and allow her to crawl, stand, walk and jump again. We pray for her stomach to continue to handle food and the feeding tube she has inside her. We pray she will never have another seizure, that she will never have another metabolic crisis, and that she will never have any further damage to her body.
And we believe.
We know God can heal her. Whether it’s overnight or gradually, we believe He will heal her. These are the other forces at work in this world beside the will of evil.
So what are we going to do with the time that has been given to us?
Choose joy continuously. In the midst of pain and struggle, we have to choose joy. No matter how dark and scary it gets, we have to choose joy. No matter how long this season of our life lasts, we have to choose joy.
Because the only way we are going to overcome this is with the strength and help of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And that is an encouraging thought.