I spent the last two evenings throwing brain cells in the trash by the handfuls. Kerry was away doing meaningful things, so apparently I had to provide some balance.
Evening 1: The Bachelor. Oh my. Just looked up this show for the first time and watched an episode posted on ABC’s website. SO AWFUL. And fascinating. Twenty-five real life gals voluntarily join a harem, and then get their hearts broken one by one while a giant, unblinking camera eye stares at them and records every sob and f-bomb for our viewing pleasure (modern gladiators!). The Bachelor has a nice fat budget to take each of them out for fantastic, exciting, romantic day-long dates in exotic places. These events, and some group dates during which several women compete with each other for his attention, are the only times they actually see this man. He is the most charming, faultless man they’ve ever met! They begin to think he’s the key to their future happiness. Only problem: he has twenty-four other girlfriends. Yet somehow they all imagine they have something special with him. They can’t help but feel happy when someone besides (and, literally, beside) them is publicly rejected and sent home with a few new scars on her heart. At some point, ALL but one of the women confesses her love to the man, hoping that this offering of her heart at his alter will somehow endear him to her. Not surprisingly, he goes for the one woman who demands that HE pursue HER, despite her serious and un-beautiful character flaws (oh, and she’s also a real-life model, which apparently makes up for A LOT).
It’s pretty ridiculous. But also sad. In real life, sad. I feel for these women. They’re not so different from me. I remember what it was like to ache for love and marriage and happily-ever-after. I remember the ways I tried to control romance; the ways I was blind to the sinful side of fallen men; the frustration of unrequited interest; the ways I was tempted not to trust God to be my loving Daddy. I remember wondering if I was silly and old-fashioned to think God would bring a husband … MY husband … along in his right time, and wondering if I should be more proactive about the whole thing.
Four unlucky women on The Bachelor got to take him home to meet their parents. (How special!) Only ONE of the fathers had the guts to question the wisdom of this 25% relationship … and the guts to say “If he asks my permission to marry you, I’m going to say No.” His daughter was very unhappy with him. She saw his protection as an awful intrusion. But he still protected her. The other dads protected themselves from their daughters.
I was prideful for many years about the fact that I “saved myself” for my husband. I felt deserving of love when it came, and I had a hard time understanding women who didn’t resist premature love. It’s only been recently that I’ve seen clearly how much my perfect Dad protected me. From myself. In spite of myself. Left to myself, given the opportunity, I would have done all the things I disdained. I know that, and the discovery is a surprise to my self-righteous self.
That’s why I feel sad for the foolish women on the show. And that’s why I’m amazed God gave me Kerry, a man among men, instead of a loser like Ben F.
Evening 2: People of Walmart (.com). OH MY. If it’s been too long since you’ve had a good cry, check out this website. I mean, we’ve all seen (or been) oddities at our local Walmart, but I didn’t realize it was epidemic. I was flipping through pictures thinking, “Wow, these people have zero self-awareness.” But then I realized, actually, most of them had to be pretty intentional to leave their mother’s basement looking that way. And that got me thinking about their hearts, and the pain and perversion and idolatry and wounds that must be in those hearts. I got to thinking about the “weight of glory,” and how C.S. Lewis said nobody is a joke. They’re either going to be an exquisite creature of heaven, or a grotesque creature of hell, and neither is a laughing matter. They’re eternal souls. Their soul may be squeezed into a body that’s wearing a pair of hot-pink shorts ten sizes too small, but there’s a reason they got up that morning and took time to hook up the crane and pull those shorts on. And that reason is deadly and deeply serious.