On my love for Scarlett O'Hara

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I need to re-read Gone with the Wind.

Living in southern Georgia, I decided to read it last fall, and it definitely helped me understand the culture I'd been immersed in and made the interesting characters in my life even more endearing to me.

Although the book is lacking what other stories have-namely a virtuous protagonist-I still fell in love with it and with Scarlett O'Hara, her frustrating character flaws and all.

Gone with the Wind is far too long and complicated for me to explain in a short blog post. There's a lot going on with the war, the Old South and New South, the Yankees, etc etc.

But basically Scarlett is super frustrating and annoying. She's spoiled and gets pretty much anything she wants. She can manipulate the people around her to giving her what she wants, not what's best for her. And that kind of changes when she meets Rhett Butler, but things are still complicated because there's all these mind games going on.

Nonetheless, I think that's why I like Scarlett.

The other day I found myself on the phone explaining to my little sister about a recent falling out I'd had with God. How I was so frustrated by my state in life and how some people prayed and got whatever they wanted, and I was still very single, not living on my own, etc, etc. I said something along the lines of, "Basically I want God to change things but I just can't manipulate Him like I can other people because He is God, so I need to get over it."

And that summed things up pretty well. I can be like Scarlett. I want things my way. I get frustrated and mad and upset when they don't go my way. I think about how I can make things change.

And the good thing about being in a relationship with God is that He is stronger than I am. I can't manipulate Him into giving me what I want, even if it's not good for me. Is it humbling? Yes. It's very very humbling to live the life I do and not tweak things into the life I want. But if this is what God sees fit, this is what I want.

I get sad when I see Scarlett because she had so much potential. Her stubbornness could've been harnessed into a humble perseverance and determination. But no one made her that way. The people around her enabled her to be the spoiled monster she was. Yes, ultimately Scarlett is responsible for her own actions, but it takes a village to raise a child, etc etc.

I'm trying not to be like Scarlett. I'm trying to allow myself to be challenged and to be told "no, that's not good for you" and to be obedient.

Keepin' It Real.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ask my teammates from last year and they'll tell you one quality I have: a desire for things to be real, honest, authentic, and organic/natural. Since I'm melancholic-sanguine (don't ask), this means I have a need to know that people are real people and they aren't just cheery all the time. It also means I have a need for people to know I'm complicated and my life isn't always easy.

I'm frustrated with my life right now.

I wasn't sure I wanted to blog about this, because being melancholic-sanguine, I can tend to be rather mopey, but out of a need for "realness" I am going to.

I am frustrated by my life. I am frustrated by my living situation, by my job, by my lack of friends. And I am frustrated by my God.

When I was making the decision to follow Jesus, I don't think anyone told me how much it can sometimes suck. Probably I'm not supposed to say that, but realness here. I guess it is obvious and should be inferred, I mean, Jesus wound up crucified, so a disciple can't expect much better. I can look at the martyrs and think, "Wow that is crazy." And in the next second I think, "That could never be me." And it probably won't. I probably won't be fed to lions or burned alive or crucified upside down for following Jesus.

Instead, I'll face a frustrating reality: promises of God just don't always seem genuine, and I'm not nearly as good of a disciple as I ought to be or wish I were. Sometimes the words I read in Scripture feel fake or too good to be true.

But that doesn't mean they're not true.

I wish I could talk to the saints and really hear about their lives. In many cases I see great loss and yet great beauty. I want to hear about the challenges and difficulties and know that I'm not alone.

Did St. Therese have moments when she just hated everything? Was St. Margaret so frustrated at God's favor in others' lives and the apparent lack thereof in her own? Did St. Mary Magdalene get frustrated with the people who tried to love her?

Did the saints have moments when they went to prayer and had nothing nice to say?

I think I would make a good Israelite, in the way that I am grumbling in the desert. I can hear them in myself, "I don't want to be here."
"You said you would follow Me."
"I didn't know it would be like this."

I know these are the times that purify. I know these are the times that strengthen. I know these are the times where I'm supposed to be able to show my love for the Giver and not just the gifts.

If I learned one thing as a missionary it was that my faith is very emotional and not always rational. And these are times where I'm reminded that God is God no matter how I feel and no matter what I want. And if I could change Him, He wouldn't be God anymore.

But it always takes time for my heart to soften. And that's okay. I will keep trying to be open and honest. I will keep showing up even when I have nothing nice to say.