Fighting for our Crappy Lives

Perhaps you remember this scene from the best movie of the year.

I realize it is highly inappropriate, but all three times I’ve seen it, the airplane scene in Bridesmaids gives me an ab work out and has me in tears.  Melissa McCarthy plays Megan, a Government Official with the highest clearance (“Don’t repeat that!”), a party favor dog thief with an innate ability to spot Air Marshals, who is also the sister of the Groom (and naturally default Bridesmaid).

I watched this again on my day off with my hubby and a particular scene stood out to me.  Megan visits the Maid of (Dis)Honor, Annie who has just had a serious meltdown at the Bride’s shower.  I mean a real melt down, the kind we’d all like to have if we didn’t care so much about our pride, being in control and suppressing anger… oh, and besides that, I am a Christian.  Anyway, Annie then loses her job, gets kicked out of her apartment and is forced to move back in with her mother.  Naturally, she falls into a couch depression and stops answering her phone and showering.

Its here that Megan visits her and does what is both dysfunctional and brilliant.  She beats Annie up.  Yep, pushes her around, tackles her, even bites her on the butt.  While she’s doing it, she says things like, “This is life Annie – this is life and I’m biting you on the…” And then she says, “I’m trying to get you to fight for your [ummm crappy] life”

At last, Annie retaliates with a slap across the cheek.  Megan is pleased to see that there is still some fight left in Annie, so she shares a hilarious story about her own fight for life.  The line that strikes me in this scene (and my point, thank God) is “You’re your problem Annie, and you’re also your solution.”

Until this moment, Annie was a blamer, constantly blaming other people for her crappy life, rarely taking responsibility for her character, her outbursts, her finances.  In Celebrate Recovery, we call this “Denial”.  In outreach, in ministry, in our own souls, we deal with this issue of blame – its a victim mentality that keeps us bound to our past, our mistakes, other people – we remain in bondage to things that hinder our best self.  We are our biggest problem.

Once Annie realized this, she stopped blaming, and actually faced herself – she took responsibility for her character, the state of her relationships, and began to dream again.  In outreach, in ministry, in our own critical, prideful selves, we often assume we know what is best for everyone.  We analyze problems or issues or people from an outside perspective, assuming we understand the entire context and history, and make judgement calls about what should be done to solve the problems, issues, or people.

One walk down Skid Row, one stroll through a juvenile hall, one hour of research on LA County prisons, one encounter with an emancipated youth from the Foster Care system, and we understand very quickly that we don’t have the answers.  We have problems people have been trying to solve for years.  Perhaps our approach isn’t working.

“…You’re also your solution.”  Maybe we should do less problem solving and more people empowering.  Eliminating denial and empowering people to forgive, dream, outwork creative solutions from their own history and context, and really LIVE might be a better long term approach.

Ask me in 20 years how it went. 🙂

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