Tonight I rented We Bought a Zoo, the latest movie from director Cameron Crowe.
I guess I knew the basic plot line from the trailers, trailers that did not motivate me to see it in the theater last December. I picked up on it being a movie about taking chances, starting over, even about life being an adventure. What I had missed was that it was movie about grief, and how it affects not only us but those we love.
Such movies have drawn me ever since my sister's passing 16 years ago. Movies such as Signs (which, yes, is about grief as well as loss and recovery of faith), To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, and many others have themes that have helped me process loss. This one did as well. Especially in this one moment...
It has been six months since the death of the little girl Rosie's mother. All of a sudden, her dad hears her call for him. He comes to her room to comfort her, and discovers that once again their neighbors are having a party outside her window. And she says to her father with great sadness, "Their happy is too loud."
One of the toughest things in the world is knowing how to help friends and loved ones get through the grieving process. We don't know the right thing to say. We don't know when they want us around and when they want to be alone. In fact, those answers are different for different people, making it that much tougher.
But I do know this from being on the other side: when I'm hurting, it's comforting to know that those who love me hurt for me. I know that sounds an awful lot like "misery loves company", but it's not. It's just the nature of love - when you really love someone, you come alongside them and feel what they're feeling. Life is about shared experiences, good and bad. In fact, Scripture comes right out and says it in Romans 12:15:
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.It couldn't be any clearer than that. Love is when you let your heart beat in time with others.
So yes, when your heart aches, it is very easy to look around you and think, "their happy is too loud." It's natural. It's human.
And it's something that I need to be sensitive too. I pray for wisdom from the Father, that I would know when to rejoice with my friends, and when to mourn with them. And do both at the right time.
So that my happy will be just the right volume.