Posted by: Robin | March 10, 2008

“Feast of Love”

hearts

Yesterday I watched a movie called Feast of Love. It is adapted from a book by the same title. I love the title. It is an ensemble piece where the lives of several people interconnect at a coffee bar. The thematic tie is the range of human experience that results from our loving each other–exhilaration, laughter, warmth, comfort, being known, loneliness, bewilderment, self-deception, betrayal, grief, loss beyond imagining, and hope. In my own writing the same theme has powerfully drawn me.

[SPOILER] One of the central story arcs involves young lovers. A fortune teller tells the young woman (lyrically acted by Alexa Davalos) the young man she loves with her whole heart and soul will die young. The older woman says that the cards can sometimes be wrong. Sometimes love can keep someone alive. The young lover immediately asks her beloved to marry her, and she is soon pregnant with their child. The most likely danger to his life has not materialized. It looks as if love has won, but of course, it does not–at least by our usual human definitions.

This loss of a too young life mirrors the loss in the life of another major character (played by Morgan Freeman, whom I can watch in just about anything). The lover’s death is further evidence that the father did right to shut down on his wife, on his friends and even this young couple after his adult son’s death of a drug overdose. If one refuses to love, one cannot lose, and eventually a person will always lose. After the young lover’s funeral the father rails against God for such senseless waste and loss. How could God be loving and allow such things? He voices our most common despairing cry when faced with the incomprehensible. His friend tells him that the young woman knew her lover was not likely to live long and built a life with him despite it. He comments that the evidence of God’s love is that he made our hearts so brave.

It is not a new thought. Our English word courage finds its root in the Latin word for heart, but the comment struck me forcefully. Maybe it is the timing. My husband is a pastor, and his work brings him shoulder to shoulder with the full spectrum of human love or its lack as expressed in our relationships. For a while now his pastoral calls have been weighted more toward pain and loss. I watch him wade in, over and over, into people’s fears, angers and grief because he loves them, and more critically God loves them. He comes home weary and heartsore, but he goes back, and God goes with him. Don is the evidence that God made our hearts brave–if we do not run from it. Watching him inspires me to pray that God will enlarge my heart, too, and teach me once again to be brave.

Life is messy and so incomprehensible at times. Sometimes we observe, or experience firsthand, pain so inarticulate and dark it devours us. It is only a place for the brave. And if we can bravely believe that Love’s joys outweigh Love’s costs, we can make the arduous journey through it and find hope again. To the brave hearts in my life, thank you.

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Responses

  1. Gee, your husband must be one hell of a guy!

  2. Ain’t that the truth!

  3. I wish it didn’t have to be so messy.

  4. Me, too.


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