Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lose, Gain, Repeat: My essay on "Something, Anything" for Christ and Pop Culture


I recently had the opportunity to write a feature article for Christ and Pop Culture, one of the best websites on the Internet. CAPC is an insightful, amusing, and diverse cache of all things culture and Christianity. You should definitely become a member for $5 a month; it's absolutely worth it, and this is a website worth supporting.

Here's an excerpt from my essay on Paul Harrill's hauntingly beautiful film Something, Anything (now streaming on Netflix) and my own spiritual journey into depression and hope:

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In Paul Harrill’s quietly haunting film Something, Anything, the opening title is a poem from Christina Rossetti:
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
With this brief meditation on the power of invisible spiritual forces in our world, Something, Anything sets the contemplative tone for its narrative, a story of personal loss and the journey toward healing and wholeness. While she doesn’t say much in the opening scenes, we can tell that Peggy (Ashley Shelton) is, by all accounts, successful. The scenes flash before us as snapshots of her wonderful life—a marriage proposal from a handsome man in a trendy setting; a beautiful wedding surrounded by friends; the enormous and well-decorated house in the hills of Knoxville, Tennessee; the joyful news of a pregnancy. Harrill chooses to tell Peggy’s story in near-silence, and she rarely speaks throughout the film. Quiet piano music accompanies the beautiful, intimate cinematography, eliciting comparisons to Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue in its affecting and melancholy portrayal of a woman walking through a season of grief. Peggy experiences a terrible loss early in the film, the painful and often-unspoken incident of a miscarriage. Her tears elicit pathos and empathy, and she is clearly deeply wounded by her loss. Yet those wounds do not define nor defeat her as she navigates the unfolding season of reconstructing her very self after such a loss.
As I watched Something, Anything, I found an unlikely partner in my own loss. Here was a fictional story about a young woman who experiences a miscarriage; I was a pastor and husband without a job or direction, a man experiencing a crisis of vocation and identity in the midst of depression. Our stories couldn’t be more different, yet I found myself weeping on the couch in my mother-in-law’s living room, deeply moved and comforted by Peggy’s spiritual odyssey and her process of healing.
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Read the rest of Lose, Gain, Repeat here at Christ and Pop Culture.

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