Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feeling raw

I'm feeling so emotionally raw this week. The shooting in Newtown last week started the avalanche, but other things this week have contributed, leaving me feeling wrung out and exhausted. The embarrassing part is that a piece of my emotional state today isn't even from anything real, but from a movie we watched last night that disturbed my dreams something awful.

In the wake of the terrible deaths of those innocents in Connecticut, our nation is grieving and there isn't much more I can say on the subject that hasn't already been said far more eloquently by people better than I. But I still have a lump in my throat when I think on it and looking at my own kindergartner, as well as my other children, leaves me feeling simultaneously so grateful that they are here with me, and irrationally afraid of something happening to them.

My aunt, who has been battling brain cancer, took a turn for the worse yesterday and is now in the ICU. I don't have any reliable details, as the phone calls we get are from different people in her immediate family and they seem to be interjecting their personal emotional state into the news; my uncle acts as if she will be home for Christmas, yet their daughters call crying and are sure the end is near. I'm not sure what is really happening, but being in the ICU is certainly not a good sign. I am so sad for her husband and children, and for my dad and grandma, that she might pass right at Christmastime.

My sister in law got in a minor car accident the other day, and although she was thankfully uninjured, her car was totaled. It has added a layer of anxiety to my week, even though it wasn't my accident or my car. She's about 10 years younger than my husband and I, and we've always tried to help take care of her in a sense. Things are coming together, she's already heard from her insurance company and things will be OK. But it was an emotional few days for her and I was feeling a bit of her pain and frustration as I did my best to help comfort her.

In light of all this, the absolute last movie I should have watched last night was "Seeking Friend for the End of the World." It is a sort of odd, rather dark and sad, comedy-ish movie. It isn't quite a drama, but not quite a comedy either, considering the sobering subject matter. Starring Steve Carrell of "The Office" fame, I thought it would have more humor than it actually did. In the film, humanity has just learned that an asteroid is going to collide with the Earth in three weeks time and it follows what happens to Steve Carrell's character and a woman he meets soon after the news breaks, played by Keira Knightly. They have some interesting, some strange, and some heartwarming adventures, but in the end, yeah... the asteroid hits. And this was no action movie filled with heroics and bombs to shove the thing off course, or showing bits of humanity saving each other and surviving. This was a love story and the final moments of the movie leave no doubt what becomes of the heroes of the story. Their end is rather poignant and very sad as they embrace. And, sorry if this totally spoils the movie for anyone reading, but they hear the huge boom of the asteroid hitting and realizing they have only seconds, and the sound sent such a rush of adrenaline through me, my heart was literally pounding for an hour. Definitely not a movie I should have watched just before bed.

My dreams last night were full of, well, they were yucky. I knew that would happen. I always have emotionally charged dreams when I watch a movie that affects me so deeply and last night was particularly bad. I woke once with the same heart pounding adrenaline rush that I'd experienced watching the movie and was up for much of the night because of it.

Silly, to be so worked up over a movie of all things. But this movie forces you to ponder the idea of what would you do, if you knew the world was really going to end. How would you spend your time? And how would you face your certain death?

It reminded me, as did the tragedy in Newtown and my aunt's illness, that sometimes the worst thing does happen. Sometimes that worst case scenario that you dread above all else - it happens. Anyone who has lost a loved one, or a child, or faced a terrible illness knows this. I've faced that worst case, or at least the almost worst case, and realized that it can happen. I survived, but it was a terrible time and changed my view of the world forever.

These are all sobering thoughts and I'm still struggling with the wash of emotions such thinking produces. There are spiritual lessons here for me, and I know it. I know that often what we feel is the worst case scenario is only the worst in our temporal, woldly life. I try to take comfort in the eternal, in the God who loves us so much that He sent Jesus to save us. But my wild imagination roars with the what ifs and fears of life, fears I dread so deeply I cannot even name them. And it is difficult right now for me to calm those fears with reality, and more importantly, with faith. But I am trying.

And I'm probably going to go watch Elf again to help cheer me up.

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