It’s been a long week. We started off with Riley getting the stomach flu in the middle of the night. Since then we have been walking on the edge of getting that terrible bug. Victoria didn’t get the full effect, but something hit her yesterday night and today was not fun. Im ok and Quinn is ok, so we pray that we all stay that way. When this bug hits here in Sweden, it makes up for Sweden’s lack of poisonous snakes. Anyway, so at the end of this long week, I wanted a movie. We hadn’t watched one in a really long time, so it sounded like “About Time.” And lucky for us, that’s the exact movie we rented. I had no idea what we were renting, it simply fell into the category we were looking for. I watched the trailer, but to be honest, I didn’t get to watch the whole thing, as I am a man and cannot do two things at once, for instance have a 15 month old pulling on my leg crying for my attention and watch a trailer. This is not to mention the third thing of Quinn begging for attention from the other room…
So that’s what we rented. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it.
SPOILER ALERT! I will talk abou the movie at some reasonable length and this may ruin some of it for you.
The premise is of course a bit of a stretch, but one we all wish we had, that Tim, the main character, and every male in his family can travel back in time. At first he uses this for all the crazy things you could thing of to hilarious effect. But as the movie goes on and the stakes get higher. He gets the girl, they have kids, etc, etc. Towards the end of the movie he finds that his very lovable ping pong playing dad has terminal cancer and he eventually dies. Lucky for him, he can travel back in time and see his dad whenever he wants. And so he does just that. The thing is, Tim’s wife wants another kiddo, and if they have another child, Tim cannot travel back in time to before the child was born for if he does, the same sperm and egg combination do not occur and a completely different child takes the old child’s place. So saying “yes” to another child means saying “no” to ever seeing his dad again. He does move on, but just before the new baby is born, he goes back in time to say goodbye. Before they go, they both go back in time to when Tim was young and take a walk on the beach together.
It was at this point that I lost it. I lost my dad in 2001. I don’t really regret a single thing in my relationship with my dad, so that’s not why I was crying. And it’s not why I cry now. I cry because I am a man. And you never stop needing your dad. Thirty Five years old, married with two wonderful kids, and I still long to hear him say, “I love you. You’re doing ok. You’ve got what it takes. I’m proud of you.” If you aren’t a man, I don’t know if you can understand. I’m not a woman, so I don’t know if you need to hear those same things from your mom. And before you think less of my dad and assume that he was deficient in saying those things, you are wrong. He said it A LOT. Especially before he died. I know that my dad loved me, I know that he was proud of me. But I’d pay a pretty hefty price to be able to sit and laugh with him again around the campfire at our annual brother’s cigar smoke on Christmas Eve. I’d just love to put my arms around him and say “Thank You. You gave yourself for me and mom and Carter and Austin. After having my own kids I now know why. I remember the holes in your shoes and socks in the lean years and the twenty bucks you stuffed in my pocket. I once told you that if I could be half the man you are, I’d be doing ok. I’m not sure I’ve reached even that, but I try.” Yeah, I’d give just about anything.
This isn’t the point of the movie, but as a Christian, I am struck by two things: 1)I wasn’t created with a capacity to have to deal with this separation from my father. That’s why it hurts so much. Thanks rebellion. 2)I mourn, but not without sure hope that one day, I will see my father again. I’ll have to wait a while maybe, but rest assured, we will meet under much better circumstances.
And then I thought about my own son. What this movie so beautifully brings home is that a life truly well lived is one that is able to stop in the moment, to enjoy life like it is the only one we have, and that the petty things that we allow to destroy our day is not actually as bad as we make it out to be. Treating others with dignity and respect and somehow enjoying the ride makes it all so much more beautiful. I’m looking forward to waking up to my son coming and waking us up tomorrow to say he’s hungry. We’re having pancakes. And we are going to enjoy it like crazy.