Country Strong

It was Saturday night and I really wanted to watch a movie.  Unfortunately, the Christmas holidays were upon us and networks were throwing up a bunch of stuff and whatever stuck to the board was aired.  That’s how I ended up watching “Country Strong”  which after seeing trailers hadn’t piqued any interest.  Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of country music fan, but I do have a few favorites here and there.  Plus, the idea of Gwenyth Paltrow playing a country singer wasn’t exactly my idea of great casting.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, Miss Paltrow, I was wrong.   You know an actor is giving a good performance when they lose themselves and become the character they are playing.  She not only became the character but drew me in until I actually cared about this woman and her problems.  What starts out as a drinking, living hard story became an in-depth look at the main character, Kelly Canter, and her struggles with alcoholism.

It provokes one to think about how the hardest times in our life often rule us thereafter.  Once, I knew a woman whose life revolved around the time when their home was flooded.  She referred to it often when making a point on some issue and seemingly relived that time over and over.  Bad things do happen and they do happen to all of us.  We who endure must continue living and seek growth leaving the past where it belongs.

That’s easy for me to say or write, but how does it work?  Forgiveness seems to be the key that unlocks all those emotions stored from “rainy” days.  Forgive and forget, so trite this oft-repeated phrase, but to actually do it requires an almost superhuman strength.  Forgiving someone or yourself requires an open heart that can say, “this happened and I won’t let it rule my life again.  It is over, behind me and I will take back the control over my life.”

Beyond that, forgiving others is so much easier than forgiving ourselves.  We seem to be able to excuse others while still holding ourselves accountable.  There is no fairness in such a position, but that is the reality.  Maybe Christmas is the time to package up those affronts to our lives, put a pretty bow on them, and burn them to ashes.  New life can and will grow from the ashes and we will be the better for it.

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