I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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finding compassion in funny places

Rachel Getting Married

It stuck with me all week — the complexity, the nuances, and the strange ways I could relate to the story. 

We finally watched Rachel Getting Married on DVD.  It’s a strange, edgy, wobbly-camera style movie about a girl coming home from rehab for her sister’s wedding.  I found it painfully realistic and fantastically unrealistic at the same time.  This film has something for every family:  sibling competition, racial and cultural diversity, divorce, blended families, the tangled web of addiction and enabling, loss of a child, prodigal (and “good”) daughter, and communication gone amok.   The end is better than the middle, but it’s not a Hollywood happy ending. 

Sounds fun, huh? 

It’s not for everyone.    But it somehow struck a nerve with me, mostly because a few issues hit close to home.  While this story is a little extreme, I do think just about every family I know could relate to some element.  If we’re honest, I think every family has a little dysfunction, because we’re human.  And humans are flawed.  Big time. 

What struck me about this film was the compassion they brought out for every character.  I could understand Rachel’s desire to have her wedding unblemished, but I also felt Kym’s need to confront and be recognized.  I felt for the father who just wanted to fix everyone with a sandwich, and I even understood why the distant mom just wanted to run away.  The brilliant directors of this tale brought out the vulnerability of each character, which brought me discomfort . . . but also compassion and understanding.  

This week, I’ve been wondering how I might find more of that compassion and understanding for the people around me.  Especially in extended families, it’s hard to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.   With so much history, it’s really challenging to shift away from self and understand the other person’s perspective.  Younger siblings may not consider the pressures on an older one.  Adult children keep acting like children of their parents.  And some of us need to work on understanding the other’s world — which begins with compassion.

It seems like compassion for children, or even strangers (or characters on a movie screen), comes more naturally.  Somehow it’s harder with the ones we love the most.  I want to work on that.

Do you need to be more compassionate to someone?  What helps you get there?

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