Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting and Using A Playbook

We saw Silver Linings Playbook in the theatre Friday night. There is much to commend the movie: excellent acting, and a fine script with believable conversations, and first-rate photography.  As the story unfolds and introduces Pat, his family, friends and then Tiffany, the film shows where more and more people seem to be camping – between profanity and insanity. Every character is in a difficult spot because of circumstances they did not ask for – or choices they unwisely made.  They have been hurt and they hurt others. And just about every one drops the F-bomb constantly – except the mom.

Its title describes how the main character, Pat, regains his mental health after a psychiatric breakdown, and in the midst of a dysfunction family and community.  His therapist urges him to develop a strategy to overcome the crazy anger when it erupts – and take his meds -- although the meds contribute their own roadblocks to his recovery, bringing him down and contributing to weight gain.

Get a plan, work it and take your meds – Good advice.  Because, as Pat reflects:

The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That's guaranteed. I can't begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else . . .

Never have I heard a better bottom line of the truth we rarely see coming.

And yet, the same character Pat comes to love Sunday:

But guess what? Sunday's my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy.

How he comes to feel so lucky is plot of this multi Oscar-nonimated film. The movie shows how getting a plan, working it, and taking meds can make a difference, especially when two characters, Pat and Tiffany were able to care more about others than themselves. So did using a mantra, “Excelsior”  -- which I learned means forever upward in Latin. We could all use a page or two from this playbook!

But nobody looks upward very much in the movie.  

God was given a cameo appearance, as the cliché portrait of Christ on a dingy wall in Pat’s parents’ home and later in their gaudy Nativity lawn decoration. 

What difference would God have made to any of the characters?

Christians meet people like Pat and Tiffany and their parents everyday – We are people like Pat and Tiffany and their parents!

The crazier things get, the harder it seems to tell myself that God is – and He cares.  And it is a question worth asking: Where was God when

·      Pat’s wife cuckolded him?  
·      Pat nearly beat the adulterer to death?
·      Pat’s dad blew his parenting responsibilities? 
·      Tiffany’s husband died and she made so many bad choices?

If He let these things happen, what’s in store for me? What difference does God make to us when our hearts break – I think that’s people want to know. 

Pat said life will break your heart – Christ said in this world you will have tribulation.
Pat was told to get a playbook, make a plan, and work it. Christ said He is the playbook  -- and the plan. (John 16:33) Pat said Sunday was a gain a great day when he thought about what everybody did for him. Christ commended the one healed leper who came back to say thanks. (Luke 17:11-17)

Practicing an attitude of gratitude may sound as clichéd as that portrait of Christ looked – but it is high up in my playbook. It isn’t second nature, any more than Pat’s learning to filter his words and choose to be a stand-up guy were his natural bent.

Using my playbook is better than telling you about it. Looking upward to God, and looking beyond myself shows how well I understand the plan.

A reminder from a friend that came recently in my email includes a timely prayer and a promise:

O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
--- William Shakespeare

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  When I take the time to make a gratitude list, I invariably feel better.


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