Last night I watched ‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ with my little Hobbits. My kids are crazy about the story and have seen the cartoon versions of this book (and the others) numerous times. J.R.R. Tolkien’s story of an unlikely hero versus overwhelming evil is a tale that speaks on so many different levels that I see and learn something new with each reading & viewing.
Last night was no different. I had to pay much closer attention: some parts were VERY visually frightening and, as a parent, I had to skip to the next chapter of the movie so I would spare my children the grotesque images and heart-stopping suspense of what happens next. In short, I covered their eyes.
This brought about a very interesting turn of events with my son: he protested that if he did not see the terrible things, then his enjoyment of the good things would be empty. The next scene would be less meaningful. He patiently told his remote-control-pressing Mama that he would not understand the full story if he didn’t see the bad parts, too.
WOAH. Deep waters.
This really made me think about life and what we do to cover our own eyes or to fast-forward through our own pain. It’s the pain that makes us relatable. Pain makes us vulnerable, compassionate and ultimately strong. I still cover my eyes (emotionally) when the phone rings at an hour it isn’t supposed to. I want to fast-forward through painful episodes at work and in my personal life. It is our natural inclination that order and predictability is good, but seriously now – how boring that would be!
How do you cover your eyes? Do you just go from home to work , home to work, home to work and then do your very best to shut out the rest? Do you use your electronic devices as relationship surrogates? Or do you dare to go see people personally, to shake hands, make eye-contact, sit down and risk saying the wrong thing or seeming too anxious? Do you fear rejection & ridicule? Are you the black sheep of your family and avoid pain by not engaging with them? We rob ourselves of the richness of life when we look away. Put down the remote. Having a well-rounded story of both scary moments and triumphs make yours and mine wonderful stories.
My son doesn’t have a choice at this point…I’ll continue to skip the scary parts til he’s older and more in-touch with ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. However, this is your life. Don’t cover your eyes.