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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Inside Out


My wife really likes going to the movies, and I enjoy it, too, so that is often where we go when we get an evening out.  She usually selects, because I am very forgetful when it comes to movies, and have been known to unknowingly purchase tickets or rent DVD’s of movies I have already seen at least once or twice.  It just works best if she makes the choice.

We recently went to see that animation movie that is out called, “Inside Out.”  I had heard ahead of time that it was considered a pretty good movie, and that women especially like it.  It’s all about feelings.  Which is probably why it is from the perspective of a young girl.  Personally, I kind of related to one scene in particular where the dad is suddenly aware that his wife is talking to him and all of his feeling characters are totally oblivious…until he realizes he has to come up with something to say.  After all, he’s a guy, I’m a guy, and at least I spell feelings right!

Watching the movie (and hopefully without giving away too much if you haven’t seen it yet), the story is about the internal workings of emotions and memories, and their impact on personality formation.  Fortunately, it is presented in a much more interesting way than that last sentence would imply!

In the twists and turns of the girl’s life, as she faces dramatic changes, some of what are called her “core memories”..those especially formative and impactful experiences in life…get shifted with a stirring of emotion.  As a result, some that were once joyful memories get overlaid with a coating of sadness that transforms them.  At the same time, new memories get formed that vie for the position of a core memory in her life, some of which are not so happy.  The shift is apparent in the personality and relationships of the young girl.

Guess what?  As I watched it, it made me think very much about divorce.  So many memories that an individual has gets overcoated through divorce.  Memories that once were full of joy get shifted to bittersweet or even sorrowful memories.  The core essence of the values and experiences that have shaped your life are challenged, shaken and sometimes exchanged into something new, and that can be a very painful process.  

It is amazing how many internal things are affected by divorce.  Some people who were once bubbly and happy become melancholy and timid.  Some who were the most trusting and caring individuals develop a protective coating that keeps them from getting too close to anyone again.  In the movie, the parents share memories of the first days with their infant.  As a divorced person, I realize those memories are no longer shared with my spouse, and the person who did share them with me is no longer part of my life and memories around her are not the joyful things they once were.  If I am not able to remember those special moments myself, then they are gone from me, unless triggered by something unexpected.  

People are often aware of the external impacts of divorce:  moves to a different home, financial stresses, often strong hostility and family life that is fractured.  But the more subtle inner shifts are sometimes the most difficult to deal with, because they can be much harder to identify.  Nevertheless, even the most painful of experiences can be used by God to shape you for the next chapter of life’s journey.  Sometimes, it just takes a little patience to get there.  

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