Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Mona Lisa Smile! A film about women's rights, women's education, equality, marriage, divorce, relationships and friendships. Good film I thought.

I love the way it ended. Catherine wasn't right. There was no wrong way or right way. She spent her entire time at the college attempting to influence her views onto the girls - views about freedom to work, freedom to be educated and freedom to be the bread winner in a family. 1953...not exactly the best year to start preaching these beliefs!
Joan, towards the end of the film, said something I entirely agree with. Catherine was trying to teach the girls about her views because she believed them to be right and what every girl should want. Joan, like many other girls, however, chose to marry and be a housewife. She chose the right to have children and raise them herself. This, to me, is a very brave thing to declare in a world where the upper class and so called aristocrats of society believed in the woman remaining at home, but the outside world was rapidly changing into a world of women in business suits, driving company cars!
Yesterday I saw a young girl with a head scarf. Jokingly, and please I mean no offence by this what so ever, I suggested to my brother that she should be liberated. I have read so many reports of women from these backgrounds and cultures who are forced to act a certain way and do certain things. This, of course, was very very wrong of me. I was judgmental and not at all 'Christ Like'!
My brother, like Joan, spoke about how I thought she would be liberated if she lost the head scarf and dressed in 'western' clothes. Maybe she chose to dress that way. Maybe it is her choice to follow a certain religion. If she did, then I will applaud her because she used her free will to choose something that has so many stereotypes and prejudice pictures attached to it.

I am a Christian, and I do believe that the God I serve is the way, the truth and the life - but I also want to and try to respect other peoples beliefs and religions. God gave us free will to decide and we have each chosen. I know this subject goes deeper when you consider some Eastern traditions where children are born into a certain religious family and are expected and required to follow a certain belief.
I guess this is also true in the Western world. I have never personally seen it in Christianity, but I know there are some people out there who are like that. Are they Christians? Are they Christ Like? Are they showing love? I know my answer, but I will leave the questions open for fear of causing controversy with my views.

As for my own life, I continue to wait upon the hideous Canadian High Commission. French-Speaking, wannabe Canadians, simple receptionists. These are the only people I am allowed to communicate with. Apparently my forms are processed by the secret service! Simple questions, 5 minute phone conversation - but no. Instead, a 2-3 hour journey to London, a trek across the city on the tube, and finally I arrive to find 15 foreign-speaking people waiting in a queue in the cold, in the middle of the street! Appalling! I stand forever in the cold, finally make it through the door and have to be checked over! Am I carrying a gun? Do I have cocaine shoved in my knickers?! The scanner gate thingy didn't think so, so I must have been clear. I venture up the dingy staircase to ascend to an enormous room full of chairs occupied by sorry looking folk, pale faces and half closed eyes. They look like they've been sitting there for eternity. Have you ever seen Beetlejuice? They look like the people in the waiting room for the dead!
Another queue and finally I speak to somebody - a receptionist! More helpful than the answering machine that tells me to press 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 for options I don't need!
All of this, plus a medical examination at the cost of £140, and a journey of an hour and a half - and I'm STILL waiting for my work permit! Rest assured that as soon as it comes I will have my flights booked and I'll be ready to go - to liberate women? children? MEN? ha! we'll see!

graced by Gemma @ 12:50 am | |

Passion of the Christ (2004)

Sunday, March 28, 2004 day. Yet today was quite different. I saw The Passion of The Christ on Wednesday and its really affected me. In a good way of course.
When I first left the cinema I found it so hard to express my feelings about this film. There were no words to describe how it made me feel. It was horrific, it was disturbing. Yet it was a love story, despite the violence and the blood.
I had always thought of Jesus as the Son of God before, but this film really hit home to me about his humanity - especially his relationship with Mary, his mother.

My Son, My Son... Flesh of my flesh

Of course he was her flesh! She gave birth to him! How awful it must be for a mother to lose a son. How horrifying it must be to see their torture, beating, and death. I hope and pray that I will never have to witness my child in pain.
Jesus was human. He had an earthly mother, he had friends. He felt, he cried, he got scared.
Yet, of course, Jesus was a very special man.
I watched the film and I found myself saying "Thank you, Thank you." So many times I have said this in the past, yet I only realised exactly how much I had to thank him for after I had seen this film. It opened my eyes so much to what he did for me.. for us.

I sat in church this morning and I wasn't really listening to the sermon, if I'm honest. I was thinking about the film and about what he had done for me. I decided to write an analogy/story of this to make it clearer in my own mind, as well as in the minds of others.

I was 13 years old when I heard banging on the front door in the middle of the night. They had finally come. I'd been expecting them for days. I was frightened, ashamed and anxious about what was to come. I knew that one day I would have to pay for all those things I had done wrong.
It was warm outside with just a gentle breeze. Birds had began to sing waiting for sunrise. Flowers were starting to bud and I could hear the bleating of tiny lambs on the hillside outside. It was spring.
I wished that it could stay that way forever, that I had never done anything wrong...but I wasn't perfect. I just couldn't help myself.
I heard a crash and the thumping of feet on the hard floor. I knew they were coming. I quickly climbed out of bed and cowered in the corner, as if they wouldn't see me if I hid in the shadows. They did see me though. He towered over me and looked down. A hand reached out and grabbed my arm pulling me to my feet. I could hardly stand because my knees were shaking so hard.
I was taken outside and was made to see on this tiny donkey who looked like he hadn't eaten in days. I knew this wasn't how I would normally have had to travel with these people, but for some reason they tried to make it look as normal as possible - like we're going out for a picnic!
It took us 3 days to get to where we had to go. I have no idea where that place was. I just knew that it was foreign to me and it was far from home. My parents would be looking for me. They heard them come in the night but could not do anything to help me.
I was locked in a small room for what seemed like years, yet I think it was only a matter of days. It was small, dark and damp. There were 2 other men in there and they frightened me. They talked to each other about what they had done wrong and tried to ask me. The thing was - I knew I had done something, but I could barely remember what it was.
Days, weeks, months later, they came again. This time they dragged me out of the cell and forced me to stand before a group of men. They asked me questions but I didn't know the answers. They hit me, and spat on me and forced me to tell them my name, but I couldn't. I couldn't speak out of fear.
They sentenced me to die for what I had done wrong. They said it was the only way I could be punished for what I had done.
I waited. Finally the day came. Dragged from my cell again and forced outside where hundreds of people had gathered to watch. The 2 men who shared my cell were already on the move. Sentenced to die alongside me.
I was looking for my family and I could see the face of a mother in every woman I saw. I saw the love of a father for his child in every pair of eyes that held my gaze. Then I saw her. My mother. She was always there and this time was no different.
They started to strap this huge piece of wood to my back but I couldn't hold it. I fell down and began to weep. I was so afraid.
Thats when I heard him for the first time. It was amazing. His voice was so peaceful and so full of love that I thought I had imagined it.
"My Child - let me carry your burden. I will take your punishment."
And he did.
I didn't want somebody else to die for what I had done but something about him just told me that it was the right thing to do. It took a while to convince those who were holding me there, but they soon agreed and let this man go before me.
I watched them as they put a crown of thorns on his head. They stripped him of his clothes and began to whip him. I shouted STOP so many times but my voice was faint amongst the echos of the whip.
First wood, then leather with bones attached to it. They tore his flesh and ribbons of his skin just hung from his practically lifeless body.
They forced him to carry this wood on his back. He could hardly walk. He carried it so far, I didn't think he would make it. I followed him all the way. This was man was doing this for me.
Before long we saw a hill rise up above us, casting a shadow over the whole scene. We climbed it.
The wood was taken from the man, and another man who had come to help him, and my saviour, my victor, was thrown to the ground. He let out a cry as his torn, bleeding body hit the ground. I couldn't believe my eyes as they drew nails into his hands and his feet. He was nailed to a cross.
Holes in his hands and feet, and a stabbing wound in his side from a soldier checking he was dead. This man did it for me.
He took my place. I had sinned, yet he took my sin and claimed it as his own. His father forgave me.
I didn't see him when he briefly came back. I heard about it and I believe it. I wish I could have hugged him and said Thank you one last time.
I know I will though. Because I will see him again one day. I thank him everyday for what he did for me. I wouldn't have life if he hadn't died.

I may not know of the pain of his passion
But I believe that in my place he stood.
That I may know freedom and live in forgiveness
For I am redeemed by His Great Love.

There was no other good enough
Willing to pay the price of sin.
For He was the only one who could reach out
And unlock the gates of Heav'n to let us in


graced by Gemma @ 11:07 pm | |


This is all very new to me and I'm not really sure what I am doing...all I know is that this is a new journal type thing where you can read about what I am doing and where I am going. I will try to keep you updated on things!

graced by Gemma @ 2:25 am | |