Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Omelets and Depressing Movies

He was about to walk out the door to go for a run, when he stopped, walked back into the kitchen and made me the best omelet I have possibly ever had in my life. Loaded with spinach and fresh cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and a hint of onion and fresh pepper, it was the most an egg has done for me in a long time. He finished whipping up this gourmet breakfast, cleaned up the dishes and headed back out the door.

I'm not trying to say it's rare that this man does things like that. It's not rare... it's just not what I do. I feel sheepish and undeserving (that is, until I remember how many pairs of his underwear I've folded and how many of his children I've bore down a birth canal the size of your toothbrush, and how many times I've wiped his... wait, that's the other ones I do that for). No really, it is staggering and beautiful the way he serves. Enter depressing movies (stay with me here...)

The last week or so we've been on holiday for Chinese New Year and we've enjoyed getting a few good films in after the kids are thrown tucked into bed. Last week I told you about two of my favorites, but this week, although they were well done and had plenty of good qualities, I found our choices to be pretty depressing.

In both films you have a lead character who through his own blind and selfish pursuits, destroys his life and the lives of those who love him. The Remains of the Day (1993) is a moving film about a butler in the years post WWII who "sacrifices body and soul in service only to realize too late how misguided his loyalty has been." (IMDb) It's tragic, but moving nonetheless in the way it makes you ponder his sacrifice. Was he a servant of self or of others? Was it both? Was it worth what was lost?

Then you have Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon.(1975). You could probably read all the critical material out there on this film for hours. Some hail it as his finest work, some lambaste it as boring, slow, and uninteresting. I personally enjoyed one reviewers insightful commentary (just scroll down 2 movies to see his write up on Barry Lyndon) that helped me to see some of it's more thoughtful qualities. But masterpiece or box office bust, this film shows a man who through a life of self service ends up broken and alone, the people around him in much the same condition. It's tragic, pathetic, and heartbreaking.

Mind you, my omelet flipping man is no saint. I mostly write about his finer qualities here because it is the world wide web after all and you would probably find it disconcerting if I treated this space as a personal stomping grounds. If you wouldn't, he most certainly would. Don't worry honey.
Anyway, I look at the characters in those movies and I look at my husband and other men I know who are spending much of their life on the unnoticed efforts of loving another. It's not just a wife; it's a child, a crippled friend, a needy group of adolescent boys, that they are pouring quiet moments of self-denial into. I know these moments are riddled with imperfection. I know because I live them myself. But I see the hand of a gracious God strengthening them and I am lifted up by the sight.

I enjoyed the movies in a depressing sort of way (strange I know, I think it is only possible if you are a melancholy), but enjoyed even more the realization over a Spinach-feta omelet that my husband is NOT in fact, Mr. Barry Lyndon in the flesh. And believe it or not, there are more Super-Acts of Husbandry to tell of. Stay tuned...

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