Around this time of year, you hear so much talk of striving to find the balance between celebrating and consuming, between sharing love and becoming greedy and dissatisfied. How to not be sucked into the grinding machine of "I want it now" and "It's never enough".
Enter these 2 movies! I'd never heard of them before, but found them on Netflix--and the rest is history. I must say these are definitely movies for adults to view, not children.
The first one is called "Which Way Home".
Here's its "official description":
As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, Which Way Home shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.Wow. This video pulled Rey and I in from the first images...and didn't let us go until the end. I felt like we were seeing Mexico's intestines, since we watched the train on its route all the way from the southern Mexico/Guatemala border and up to the Texas border. The camera crew is so unobtrusive. You feel like you are just another passenger on the train, a visitor in the home. The filming is raw and real. It brought back memories of many places and people we ourselves know. At one point, I was all-out sobbing. So heart-wrenching.
The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call "The Beast." Director Rebecca Cammisa tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year-old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow.
They are the ones you never hear about – the invisible ones.
I feel that this film also perhaps brings another understanding to the whole issue of illegal immigration. It is a touchy subject in almost any crowd--but seeing what these people are coming from, their stories, at least helps us see a little bit more of their world.
As the video ended and the screen turned black, Rey and I sat back in silence. Rey finally said, "I.am.so.blessed." Truly. After watching the nothingness these people survived on, our drinking water felt cleaner, colder. Our house felt too big, luxurious. The amount of clothing we own ridiculous. I love it when that happens! We must know how truly rich we are to practice contentment--and appreciation.
The second movie goes by the interesting title of "HAPPY".
Again, the official description:
"HAPPY takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion."
Ok, 2 things:
1. Watch this movie
2. If you ever see an opening for the housing showed in Denmark, call me. I wanna go.
So interesting! Exploring what, scientifically, really seems to make people happy. The main finding here (sorry if this is a spoiler) is that community is everything. Having a close-knit group of family and/or friends in your life. They showed many examples of this--and it stood out to me how often our American culture does not encourage that kind of community. We can tend to be somewhat isolated from each other, with very thick boundary lines between "yours" and "mine". We can try to compete with each other, hide things from each other, be better than the other. In other cultures, it seems there is more of a fluidity there between families. Using what each family has to help the other, compliment the other. Seeing everyone as part of a whole entity, as opposed to everyone being their own entity.
While that way of living is definitely more "messy", I do see it as being more healthy and want to move more towards that way of thinking, living. Which is interesting, because as Rey and I are taking the classes to become licensed as foster parents--we are finding out that we are really going to have to practice that. To see ourselves as not the "it" for the child, but as a link in the chain of their life. Possibly even serving as mentors and encouragers to the birth parents--as opposed to their competition. "I can do this better than you..." I think we are going to really learn about true love in these upcoming months. Loving just to love, for nothing in return. Learning to encourage the good in someone as opposed to writing them off for their failings. Realizing that we are called to love even after being disappointed... because He does. Allowing things to get messy, be unpredictable. Letting our hearts feel just a tiniest portion of the pain that the Creator feels as He sees His creation subject to the choices and whims of sinful people. Being grown together, even if only for a season. Letting Him show us how to "lay down our lives" for our brothers and sisters.