By our cinema contributor, Lindsay Smetanka
Early one Saturday morning I woke up in hot sweats. Realizing that the air conditioning in my dorm room had unexpectedly turned off, I threw back my plush comforter and blindly reached for my phone to look at the time. It was five in the morning. Distracted by the multiple notifications that I had received through the night, I perused through my Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and email accounts until I fell asleep an hour later.
The night before, I had made a strict plan to wake up at eight, go running, make myself a nice breakfast, and take the metro to the closest movie theater to see the new Amy Schumer romantic comedy, Trainwreck. However, I forgot to set my alarm and I woke up to the sound of my roommate stumbling in through the door next to my bed. I looked at the time: 10:50 A.M.
Realizing that I was about three hours behind schedule, I opted out of my original morning plans. I could still make the 3:30 P.M. showing of Trainwreck if the unpredictable metro operations didn’t malfunction (which they have a habit of doing at the most inconvenient times).
Despite making it to the theater an hour before the show, I still managed to purchase the wrong ticket. After realizing my mistake, I scrunched my nose at the small text that read: ANT MAN. Seriously, God? Internally debating over whether or not I should stay and watch Ant-Man, I looked at the movie poster one last time to realize that I had zero desire to see the new Marvel “classic.” Assuming that I couldn’t return the ticket at the booth, I dramatically tossed the ticket into the trash can sitting next to the road. “Now what?” I thought to myself. I’d been extremely off-kilter since I had awakened in hot sweat that morning. I stared blankly into the trash can.
Out of nowhere, my question had been answered. If I left immediately, I could make the 4:00 mass at the church down the street from my dorm. Retracing my route on the metro, I returned to town. I paced into the blocks of grey stone between the stained glass windows and found a seat on one of the green plush pews. Sometimes God gets us exactly where we are supposed to be – with Him, and it can only happen when our route is derailed.
I had been looking forward to seeing Trainwreck for a few months, but sitting in the pew before mass, I grimaced at the realization that Schumer’s new movie is nearly identical to the dozens of other romantic comedies that I had seen over the past five years. Although I hadn’t seen the full film, I could already assume the plot from watching the teaser trailers and reading the film synopsis online. All of these modern “rom-coms” carry the same theme: Friends with Benefits, Easy A, No Strings Attached, That Awkward Moment, and Crazy, Stupid, Love, just to name a few. They all share a similar plot that centers around one of the main characters acting as the stereotypical “player,” only seeking to “hook-up.” Usually, the other main character is more reserved and counteracts the personalities of his or her significant other.
Over and over again, we watch the rising action of two characters unexpectedly falling in love and the “blindsided” climax that somehow ruins their relationship. In the five minutes before the closing scene, the downfall action resolves the issue and the two live happily ever after. Yay. Sounds familiar, huh? AND WE LOVE IT. We love that the “player” settles down and rejects his or her toxic habits. We love that the more emotionally dependent character finds his or her independence and still manages to fall hopelessly in love. We love the drama, but why?
The Gospel reading at mass that Saturday was “The Sheep and The Harvest” story.
The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
We are the sheep. We are the lost. We are searching for a Truth. When we attempt to find the truth by conceptualizing the meaning of love in our lives through romantic comedies, the latest dating trends, and gossip, we will always come out feeling empty and seeking more. We are yearning for real Love...Divine Love, and that type of Love can only be received through the intersession of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We are God’s beautiful “trainwrecks.” Even on the bad days, when we don’t set our alarm and we can’t stop sinning, God still loves us and he never stops working small miracles into our lives. Only He knows the Truth and only He can lead us to the path of True salvation.