You really need to have this song on while you read!
Recently, my family – the one with which I share a house – and I sat down to watch a movie from the 1980’s. Erin and Allie had seen a spoof on this particular movie that was done on a television show that they watch, Victorious. Although they thought the spoof was funny, they really didn’t get all the jokes. So, Pam and I found this as a good excuse to relive some of our high school days by showing them the movie.
Truthfully, we had both forgotten how rough the language was in the film but my girls reassured (not certain that is the right word for this!) me that the language sounded just like another day at school for them. Go figure. I guess things haven’t change that much since the eighties after all because I remember the language in our school was pretty bad as well.
Anyway, once we got beyond the language and some of the rather adult topics being discussed (my daughters always get uncomfortable around me when partying, sex or drugs are mentioned), the girls had a pretty good grasp on what the spoof had attempted to do AND they got to see a classic movie about identity, peer pressure and even family dynamics. It gave us a lot to talk about for some time – even the more embarrassing spots were topics of conversation.
I thought I had remembered most of the movie but there was one scene that really, really stuck out to me. It was a dialogue between Allyson (Ally Sheedy) and Andrew (Emilio Estevez) that took place right after she had dumped out her purse and talked about running away from home. I can’t find the video clip and don’t really want to go through all the trouble of getting the permissions necessary, but here is the dialog:
Hi, you wanna talk?
Where do you want me to go?
(Andrew turns away and Allison starts to cry.)
You have problems…
Oh, I have problems?
You do everything everybody ever
tells you to do, that is a problem!
Okay, fine…but I didn’t dump my
purse out on the couch and invite
people into my problems…Did I?
So what’s wrong? What is it? Is
is bad? Real bad? Parents?
(Allison is silently crying.)
What do they do to you?
They ignore me…
(They both are crying silently.)
That one line – “They ignore me” cut me deeper than anything has in a very long time. I couldn’t help but think about all the people I had passed on the street and simply ignored. I couldn’t get out of my mind the images of people working in grocery stores that I simply walked past. I couldn’t help but remember the voice of a businessman in Princeton who told me recently that I was the first person from our church to ever stop in his business. Yes, Allyson was talking about her parents ignoring her but I couldn’t help but think of all the people I ignore on a fairly regular basis.
I know that when I was watching the movie, and Allyson agrees as Andrew asks if it is “real bad,” that I am expecting something terrible – physical or sexual abuse. But my imagination had not gone dark enough for the terrible thing she had faced. She said they simply ignore her.
As a pastor, I think people sometimes expect that I am paid to “notice” them – at least some church members have this expectation even though I have rarely heard it voiced. I hope I don’t give in to that and instead would use my time noticing the “other” people that are so important to God – my children, my wife, those in my neighborhood and those many, many people who serve me and my families on this journey between homes.
My goal this week: Learn the names of the people who pick up my garbage. Maybe then I won’t forget about them. (You DID play the song, didn’t you!)