Sitting in the Sun

I was watching a movie in which the mom, an older middle-aged woman in her 40s or 50s, looked forward to sitting on her back step after work, basking in the warm afternoon sun. What she really wished for was to vacation someday in the warmth of Spain, but her whole life had slipped away without her ever experiencing that desire and this was her small compromise.

Sadly, what this woman really needed was to spend time in the warmth of the other sun, the son of God. Instead of spending those few precious moments alone with God, she spent them smoking her cigarettes, daydreaming about who knows what about life–her affair? Even sadder still were her two sons sitting on the stairs in the house, looking down at her. Why didn’t they go down and join her, talk to her?

Ironically one movie reviewer described this movie as “An irresistible feel-good movie.” Based on that comment, I never would have expected such a depressing negative experience. The answer to the protagonist’s (young man’s) problems within his own dysfunctional family and miserable school life was to form a band, write music, and get to know a mysterious beautiful girl.

Of course, there are many positives about the way the main character deals with his sadness about his parents’ deteriorating relationship and his frustration and anger about his situation at school with a bully and a nasty school administrator .

The young man seeks a creative outlet to deal with his emotional upheavals as compared to his loser, lazy brother who does nothing–although he does smash some records at one point. However it is one thing to sing songs about longing for love and another to sing a song about revenge against the inflexible school administrator, who naturally is a priest.

Oddly near the movie’s conclusion, the young man forgives the bully and invites him to help the band, but then sings as his last song, a disrespectful song of revenge against the priest.

On a certain level the movie is proof that without God, marriage struggles to survive and is likely to fail. As Fulton J. Sheen said, “It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing  out the worst in one another,” (Seven Words of Jesus and Mary).

Divorce  shreds families apart. Shred might not be a strong enough word: shatter, destroy. However, what is frustrating is when the family is rubber stamped Catholic and they aren’t. Sure they may have been baptized. But we don’t see them go to church or pray. Sadly, you could argue that is the case with many families. I’m not suggesting the family be portrayed in the opposite unrealistic light of no conflict or plastic smiles. In this movie, we don’t even see the normal conversations of mom and dad with the kids. “How was your day?” “What is going on in your life?” “Anything new?” Just everyone wrapped up in their own little world.

Naturally the writer, producer, and/or director of the movie  could be portraying something they experienced. But there is something more.

As Fulton Sheen said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” We can expand that to any country in the world. Should it surprise us that Christianly is struggling in Europe. Do they really know what the Catholic Church is? Have they sought the Truth?

The movie ends with the two young lovers running away to London to seek their fortunes, he to promote his music and she to find work as a fashion model. There lies the happy ending.

But are they just reliving the happiness that their own parents sought, attempting to love one another without God. Idealistic young love is a beautiful thing, but can I say with Mother Teresa, “People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”

Elizabeth Yank

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Elizabeth Yank is a free lance writer who has been published in a number of Catholic publications, including Faith and Family, National Catholic Register, Lay Witness, and others.

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