The local showing of “Silver Linings Playbook” at Oxford’s Amstar Cinema underscored life’s craziness, as did the local showing of “Crimes of the Heart,” produced by Calhoun County’s CAST (Community Actors’ Studio Theatre).
In the movie, a schoolteacher develops bi-polar disorder and loses his job. He feels even crazier in an institution and returns home. He resolves issues with his crazy family members in order to achieve some peace.
In “Crimes of the Heart,” three sisters who survived their mother’s suicide and their father’s desertion reunite as adults to help the one of them who committed a crime. Each has been scarred with life’s failures; and each is a little crazy. Love conquers all in the end.
The fictional world is not the only place for craziness. None of us would blame citizens in Chelyabinksk, Russia, for acting a little crazier than usual since the explosion of the asteroid recently took place over their heads. Who could have predicted such? Also, the travelers on the stranded Carnival cruise ship last week might act a little crazy for a while, as their incident, while not as traumatic as those affected by the explosion, was certainly stressful.
So, trauma and stress happen, everywhere, everyday. We humans are often left to cope with the aftereffects of illnesses, broken relationships, tornadoes, an avalanche of responsibilities, and financial troubles -- to name a few.
Another theme of the movie is that we should acknowledge our craziness, and we should develop coping strategies, according to an actor that played a psychologist in the movie. Acknowledging our craziness is painful, though, and probably more than one of us moviegoers recognized the pain in the eyes of actor Bradley Coopers as he struggled to channel his tirades into a more constructive life. The endearing moment of the movie is when the character forgives his dysfunctional family members and rediscovers love.
In a similar moment in the play, two of the sisters endeared themselves to the audience when they expressed merriment about the stroke that their domineering grandfather suffered. Their laughter was both inappropriate yet healing. We laughed along with them, even if ours was a nervous laugh.
Whether we learn to channel or to laugh, to pray or to cry, to forgive or to love, each of us must recognize that our reactions to life’s crazy times must be acknowledged, accepted, and then corrected.
An author I admire is the Rev. Dale Clem, formerly of the Goshen area of Calhoun County. One of his daughters was killed during the Palm Sunday tornado that hit his family’s church in 1994. He turned to his faith to cope with the trauma and wrote that he emerged with an improved attitude toward life. Here are words found near at the end of his book, “Winds of Fury, Circles of Grace”: “The wonderful thing about life is that cleansing waters come, and we are able to breathe new life and start over.”
These are good words to remember when we are coping with life’s craziness.
Email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.