Monday, December 1, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks, Saving Innocence

"The rain brings life- so does the sun." -Saving Mr. Banks 
When one thinks Disney or Mary Poppins, they think happy thoughts. They think magic. But I have so often found that magic is given to the areas in our lives that we fear the sting of reality. Addiction is messy. It is messy and ugly and it takes away so much. Yet, it is very much a part of reality. Saving Mr. Banks hits that reality on the head in the most real of ways. But it also saves something too. It saves innocence and it saves magic. I have never been one who likes to watch realistic movies. I prefer my movies (and books for that matter), with enough fantasy to pull me out of the world for just a brief moment in time. I don't mean that in the sense that I watch only far out fantasies or pure science-fiction. I mean that I prefer movies with enough reality that they could almost be real, if it weren't for the fact that they aren't because there is far more that the movie doesn't show you. They leave out the messy and broken bits. Or they weave them together in such a way that they are all well and mended by the time the credits roll. I don't tend to watch documentaries or read biographies. Even Sundance movies are far too real world for me. Which is exactly why the story of Mary Poppins is something I can't stop watching. It is the hard and bitter truth of reality, of one grown child's story of addiction, told through the magic of one man's imagination, to paint for her a world in which things ended up alright. 

I watch Saving Mr. Banks and my heart breaks and mends and breaks and mends time after time. It breaks for the little girl who covers for a father she loves. It mends for the woman who opens her heart to the forgiveness she denied herself. It breaks for the cruel reality that addiction brings into people's lives. It mends for the resiliency we have within our hearts to keep going when it takes everything away. 

When I watch saving Mr. Banks I see my own story. I hear the lies you tell yourself to pretend it all away. I see broken people, wearing the physical faces of breaking hearts. I think about all the questions, the questions screamed outwardly and inwardly. When I watch Saving Mr. Banks I can't help but think about the questions that my niece won't have to ask because she was never old enough to understand what was going on around her in the heat of a relapse. But I wonder too about what questions she will ask the older she gets and knows fully the reality that her dad isn't here. I dread the day she asks why. How do you explain to anyone, at any age, the truth behind addiction? I still don't understand it. 

When she is three you can tell her that her daddy is in her heart and that he is with Jesus and that he loves her and that is and always will be true, but what about the day when she wants more? Yet, in it all there are things to be thankful for. Thankful that she was too young to realize what was going on, thankful that she was too young to be made into a crutch to hold up a world that was falling apart around her. I am thankful for the fact that she can hold onto magic, that we all can. When we loose that innocence, that magic, we turn our backs on the hope that life can have beauty. When we loose that, we build walls around our hearts. Walls that have thorns to keep out anything that can hurt us. We build fortresses around our battered hearts to protect us. Fortresses that shoot arrows to fend off anything at all; love, pain, life and death. I know, because I have been there. Keep out the good to keep out the bad. 

Life on Earth? Addiction? The reality of all the painful things? They are hard, brutal and messy. There is no way around that and no way to prepare for it. But I have hope and faith in the things that I can not see. I know that someday I will live in a world without pain and without tears. I will live in a Kingdom with no walls, because they won't be needed and that is no fairytale. That is the magic, that is the ending to the story- and the beginning. That is the reality that changed all realities. Walt Disney took Mary Poppins and he saved Mr. Banks. God sent us Jesus and He saved the whole world. It hurts- He never promised it wouldn't- that believing doesn't mean we all get to live here on Earth together until we are old and feel that we have fully lived. It hurts that people leave before we are ready for them to. Free will and the choices we make often hurt us, but there is the Promise of a life forever. And I will hold onto that. I will hold onto that and the innocence of a child-like heart. The innocence and magic of a child-like heart that can find beauty in the most messy of stories. 

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