Where the Unlikely Electric is Found...

5:58 PM

A Living Art Collage of Redemption

Posted by Heather Arney |

August 23, 2009

"Time can't go backwards, you cannot changed what has happened, but you can change everything else."

I just finished watching what many would call a very "B" rate movie called, "Mom, Dad, and Her," on Lifetime. Before you chuckle, I must say, (as I wipe tears from my eyes), that despite the cheesiness factor of this "made-for-tv film, I feel so incredibly moved, and have so many thoughts swirling in my head....The main word is "redemption." I don't think I have long-winded, poetic and profound, paragraphs ready to leap from my brain on to the pages, or e-pages as the case may be.....but maybe a few thoughts and a few pictures can say what I want to say.

The simple storyline of the film was this: A teenager's parents were divorced when she was young....she is struggling in life and getting into trouble. Her mother calls her father, out of despair, and she is "forced" to go live out in a rural area for the summer with her father and her new "step-mom." The step-mother is played by Melora Hardin, "Jan," the quirky old boss of Michael on The Office. Her role in this movie was glorious, and gloriously simple. The movie was typical - meaning I am sure you could script what the summer in the rural town with the dad and step-mom would look like. The daughter was pretty horrid and dreadful, and ran away and was mean to the father and step-mom...and the step-mom was gracious and loving back. She didn't try to be the girl's mom, or get angry at her for her bad behavior, instead she embraced her. She saw that the girl was broken because of her past, and her parents' failed marriage....the step-mom was gentle and sure, and through her simple kindness was a change agent. Her actions and her love brought forth redemption in this girl's life.

I couldn't even get up to zap my luke-warm coffee or get a tissue for my blubbery face...I just sat there, so incredibly moved by Melora Hardin, in this role. She was a change agent in someone's life because she called out the best in them, she offered hope in the face of hopelessness, she offered grace when it was certainly not the human thing to do. She helped someone see their way through something difficult, by being a presence and by being full of unconditional love. That struck me as exactly what Jesus did, and does, and costantly does in my life. How steady and how sure is the redemptive work of Christ in my life.

It sometimes takes a Lifetime Sunday afternoon movie to remind me of His redemptive nature....I am reminded of how much He is in the business of making old things new....of taking the broken and messed up places within ourselves and creating something beautiful, and using us right where we are at to touch another person. He banishes shame and hurt, and gives us something sweeter and more beautiful. I think sometimes we can barely behold this thing..we don't know how to behold it. Pain can be comfy, and this sweet tasting burst of Hope he offers challenges us to receive it, right in the middle of whatever messiness we are in. Behold it.
I got all inspired..I wanted to be Melora Hardin in her character in that moment. Don't get me wrong...I'm not looking to put myself in her shoes and sign up for the specifics of her life. I can only hope to be half the hope-giver as she was to that teenaged girl.

I think that is one of the reasons I like taking pictures of random, broken down, old stuff...(specific, huh?). If you look at my "Creating in V-town" album on facebook, it is a glimpse of a photo escapade I had one evening. I took about 72 shots of funky couches and chairs in complete disrepair, that were dumped outside of a closed thrift store. For me, looking at those couches is not in the slightest way, depressing. Instead it evokes total hope and glee inside of me. What is the story of this couch, and what potential does it have? (Don't answer that question...the specific couch was so funky, it deserves to be burned or exploded, cause it was super icky, haha!) But for -analogy sake....what can be done with rusty old yesterday's stuff? It can be re-invented, re-worked, re-created, re-born, re-invested in. I LOVE THE "RE-" WORDS! It's like, TAKE 2, Try again, don't give up, you are rad, and you just haven't fully realized it yet.

What else has "-re" in it? REBIRTH. RENEWAL.

It is my prayer that God could use my little humble self in great way in others' life, by simply being a hope-bearer - pointing the way to Christ's gift of new life - helping people to see that He does super cool things with rusty people...He can fine tune and recreate.
Here's to thriftstore sweaters that get a second life, vintage furniture - round 2, and the redemption of our hearts and lives.....

I want to be a living art collage of redemption. Does that make sense? It did in my head.

The few pictures above fit my mood right now - shots I took 2 years ago when on a retreat up in the woods and mountains...simplicity. :)

7:21 PM


Posted by Heather Arney |

August 8, 2009

Just back from seeing the new Meryl Streep and Amy Adams movie, "Julie and Julia." It is as if I have come back from an experience - that I was given a small cushioned window seat into the lives of Julie and Julia, and that we are now moving towards friendship, or (okay, maybe just wanna be penpals.) Maybe I was not so profoundly impacted by this movie, following the life of Julia Child and her passionate pursuit of cooking, and the young woman who cooked all 500 and something of Julia's recipes in 365 days, as much as it inspired me and challenged me.

In the movie Julie was maniachal as all get out, swinging a full-time job, her marriage, and sometimes working her way through multiple French recipes in one night. She did not just boil lobster alive, and slice through the spine of a duck (count me out!!), but detailed her account in a zestfully vibrant and honest way, to her cyber readers via a blog. I must admit that blogging and cooking are two hot button words (and activities for me....perhaps, cooking more so), and so I was all about this film. I also must blatantly admit, I was envious of her great blog following!! It made me want to pick a theme, and some crazy task to do each day, and faithfully complete both the task, and the colorful description of the experience....

Being in the theater was a superb reality check for me. I am certain that after the movie, most every female, especially every young female, was completely enamored by the young Julie's life....was ready to live in a flat above a pizza shop in NYC, with an amazingly committed and devoted husband, pursuing such an adventure, and finding new fame. Not to say that it can't happen, because ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, (almost), is possible with vision, and hard work, and never-ending creativity and drive.... My friend in the theater made the comment though, after the final credit rolled, about how easy it would be to get wrapped up in what looked on screen as Julie's perfect life and adventure...

As I wait for about an hour, to get ready to have delightful Thai cuisine with a friend, my hunger gets the best of me and I've fallen prey to string cheese and some (fab, I must say) dark beer....I am watching my roommate's over-sized, overly gleeful dog roll around on his back repeatedly, while chewing on a tennis ball, and I am thankful.... :) Thankful that I am human, and that God has equipped up as human beings with such wondrous capabilities and capacities to accomplish so much, to create, to dream, to serve, to love...heck to be thinking, feeling, people, and not dogs who chew balls. (See Hebrews 13:20-21 - God enables us and gives us strength where we do not have ability and are weary). What a great honor and responsibility. This weekend so far has been a quiet one so far, and for that I am thankful...a time to sit before God and really try and listen and hear from Him, and recenter myself, and really ask myself what is in my heart to do, and ask God what He would have for me....believe me, the string cheese and dark beer, are certainly enhancing the clarity I am receiving now! ;)

I may not be the next Julie, sweeping the cyber world with a thousand plus blog followers (although, maybe one day, ha!), but I am Heather Clarrisse, and for that I am thankful to God....

A quick aside: Say I was to dawn the hat of professional blogger, or pretend professional blogger, what crazy thing should I become obsessed with and pursue at greath lengths, and tell the whole world about? :)

a.) Make it my pyschotic bent to try every Chai tea, chai latte, and perversion of chai in this fine city of Fresno, and write a detailed report about not only the drink, but what company it found me in...

b.) A hunt for every authentic, and divine, and hopefully sanitary taco stand or truck or joint in this town, and my ravings about how good it is, a confession of how much sour cream I dumped on top, and the people I mingled with... (funny how the first two involve food!!)

c.) Quit responsibility (NOTE: DON'T WORRY, I WON'T DO THAT!) and become a traveling bohemian somewhere in Europe....probably somewhere in Ireland to start off....I'll write about crazy traveling life, my musical pursuits, and beautiful seas and villages I land in. Maybe one day....and maybe you can come too??? Let me know if you're in. ;)

d.) could be a blog about my youthworking pursuits but that may not entail enough humor for my liking....don't want to put you guys in tears, and make you grab blankets and need a hug...

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