What if words are my first fruits?
They wash over and through me all through the night. They twist the sheets and rat my hair, raise and lower my temperature and insist on themselves from the time I lay down until the time I get up, each time I get up, their march and throttle threaten to keep me awake. This night, they came in the form of illuminated Bible verses. Several of my favorites, though I remember only one or two now, were confirmed.
All things work together for good to them that love God.
This one revealed parallels in my life and those in the movie Bella. I saw how God’s awesome and terrifying will keeps everything under submission, how even Manny’s anti-pathetic character could be the catalyst for or rather evidence of Immanuel, God with us.
I wondered at the pain of it all, the true and immeasurable suffering of each; Nina’s childhood and decision, José’s accident, prison term and loss, Lucchi’s death, her mother’s misery, the parents’ inability to have children at first, and the triumphant, cobbled together kind of beauty with which each lived as a result(?). Each reactive or responsive life is a prism of choices. One could sense José’s conviction that he had to go with Nina even though there would be consequences, even though he knew not why.
It was truly bella how he went only so far correcting his brother when the opportunity presented itself, and how their mother became the mask for Manny’s concerns about the brother he loved more than life itself. Though perhaps those scenes lie on the cutting room floor, even now tears spill imagining his visits to José in prison, the way his heart must speed up each time his brother seems to be riding the edge of his grief, opening arms above a precipice wanting to fly, falling deeper.
The excellent preparation and presentation of food inspired me to come home, despite the backlog of tears, and remember that beauty is also a choice. For $13 and change, I presented myself with a beautiful anti-dinner of Kalamata olives, mozzarella-sun-dried-tomato-and-salami pinwheels, baby buffalo mozzarella and grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas and farmhouse seeded flatbread – a celebration of bittersweet choices, in honor of life’s beauty. Andy declined to share it with me, preferring the hotdogs I went into Smith’s to get buns for instead. Looking up the Romans 8:28 citation at the Online Parallel Bible website, I noticed how the entire film could have been a response to Paul’s verses of reassurance, beginning at 18. Read the scripture, see the film and let me know what you think.