Archive for the ‘love and marriage’ Category
“…and they brought to him a woman caught in adultery and made her stand before everyone…” (John 8:3)
Did I mention that I believe adultery is wrong whether the one committing adultery is the husband or the wife? Did I mention that adultery destroys lives? That it leaves families in ruins. That I think that — except in instances of extreme physical abuse — staying for the sake of the children is not such a bad idea. That adultery makes a mockery of love, vows, witnesses, and notions of commitment ? Can I remind you that adultery is a sin?
Then how can I possibly sit here and confess that “The Bridges of Madison County” is my all time favorite movie? Hands down. Hi Five. Pass the Kleenex and popcorn. Why do I catch myself cheering and screaming at Francesca the lonely farmers wife who finally finds that once in a lifetime love to go ahead and turn the handle and hop out the truck her husband is driving and dash in the pouring rain for Robert’s truck there at the red light before he pulls off and out of her life forever?
Pass the Kleenex and popcorn.
Every time I see that scene of Meryl Streep (Francesca, I mean) in wrenching mental turmoil and emotional anguish over whether to stay or leave, toying with the door handle in her husband’s pick up truck, my heart breaks all over again. I’m a minister, but a side of me – the side that believes that you only get one chance at a certain kind of absolute right love—is screaming for Francesca a lonely farmer’s wife to run away from her bore of a husband and grab the life waiting for her with the man of her dreams Robert Kincaid the wandering photographer (played superbly by Clint Eastwood).
The movie opens with scenes of Francesca , immigrant bride, faithful farmer’s wife, dutiful mother of two self-absorbed teens, on a farm in Iowa aching for something she can not name. On an occasion when her husband and children are off for four days at a county fair, in walks a charming photographer on assignment with National Geographic to photograph bridges in her county. His love brings her back to life. They have four days to cram in a life. And they do. Tenderly. Passionately. Achingly.
“Turn the handle. Jump out the truck. Leave that farmer of a husband you’re married to. Run off with the man you love.” I’m beating the arm of the chair and screaming at the top of my lungs each time I watch the scene of Francesca in that truck. (My heart is racing even now as I type the words and recall the scene.)
And then I come to myself. Dear God, forgive me. I’m a minister.
Neither Francesca nor Robert is young, but they show you that love can turn you into a 16 year old again–love just costs so much more when you’re older.
Francesca must choose between her love for Robert and duty to her family. Duty and Responsibility or Love and Fulfillment?
‘In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once’ says Robert says to Francesca the last night they are together. He’s come to convince her to leave for love.
Fast Forward: Francesa’s husband and children have come back home. Francesca is in town on errands sitting in her husband’s pick up truck waiting for him. It’s raining. She sees Robert standing off in the distance drenched and staring in her direction. She knows instinctively that he’s leaving. He’s off to God knows where ever it is that men who can’t stay in one place go. The expressions on the faces of the two lovers as they stare at each other says it all. It’s now or never.
Pass the Kleenex and popcorn.
Is Francesca’s decision a tragedy or moral victory? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m wrong for encouraging a married woman in her adultery. But, God help me, I can’t help myself. There’s never a time when I watch “The Bridges of Madison County” that I don’t yell at Francesca and don’t feel the casket lid closing in on her as Robert’s truck turns left and drives off.
Lord have mercy on me.
I know better. After all, I am one of the children Francesca left behind to run off for her lover. Decades later, my sister, brothers and I continue to live with the wounds of being the children a bored, aching, unloved mother left behind for the promise of fulfillment.
It was wrong (says the minister). It hurt (says the wounded daughter). But I understand now (says the woman).
Ok, so I forgot. It’s Valentine Weekend. Lord, where have I been? (How about Atlanta, DC, Lancaster, Dallas, and a few other places over the past few weeks!) Sorry I failed to put something up here on the blog about everyone’s favorite topic: love.
Anyway, I’m late. So, I thought I’d do the next best thing and post yet another favorite heartbreak song here on the blog. Heartbreak songs is another one of those “fun” research topics of mine. Next to women’s shoes, that is.You can tell a lot about a culture by the music it produces. You can also tell a lot about a generation by the music it listens to. You can tell a lot about a generation of women by listening to their break up songs.
You’ve had your chance and proved unfaithful
So now I’m gonna be real mean and hateful
I used to be your sweet mama, sweet papa
But now I’m just as sour as can be.
–”I Used to Be Your Sweet Mama,”
I’m old school girl who grew up on break up songs like “Frankie and Johnny” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and “Cry Me A River” and the feminist national anthem of them all, “I Will Survive.”
Breaking up ain’t what it usedta be.
Gone are the mournful elegies of a previous generation, filled with melancholy and sadness, where women sat around singing about what went wrong, who was wrong, and why things went wrong.
A new generation of achey breakey love songs have come on the scene where it’s all about revenge, ridicule, and women claiming their own agency. To hell with crying. Or so it seems.
Lord have mercy…you younguns’ done taken breaking up to another level. It’s not enough to survive. How about a little revenge to make things go down easier? LOL. Take Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust The Windows Out Your Car.” Sure, Frankie shot Johnnie, says the song, when she caught him cheating on her with another woman. LOL. But women in my and my mother’s generation probably wouldn’t have thought to rhapsodizing about busting the windows out his car. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like we don’t know about bustin’ out windows. (Cough. Cough.) It’s just not something a real lady would ever admit to doing. Shooting is classy, but bustin’ windows is…well…you know…common. LOL.
Rihanna’s “Take A Bow” is another one of those songs by a young female artist that I enjoy a lot. The woman in the song sees right through her man’s many guises and deceptions. With photos of Rihanna’s black and blue bruises from a beating by her teen idol boyfriend Chris Brown circulating around the Internet these days, it appears that the real flesh-and-blood singer lacks the guts and good sense of the song’s protagonist. This recent beating was not Brown’s first time hitting Rihanna, according to some reports,. Here’s hoping and praying that the singer has the good sense to let this be Brown’s last bow in her life.
Forget all the sad, lovey dovey, mushy “I miss you” songs. If today’s urban sounds tell us anything it’s that today’s young women don’t believe in suffering in silence. They put it all out there.
Exhibit One: “Call Tyrone” (my favorite!).
I nearly ran my car off the road the first time I caught neo-soul diva Erika Badu singing her no nonsense anthem. Down home earthy, gutsy, raw and, oh so, very, very sassy. Talk about a woman’s song. Talk about a down home blues song. Talk about a woman flicking her nose at bougeoise notions of femininity and womanhood, demanding respect and declaring her own autonomy. Like a good break-up song, “Call Tyrone” is cool and smooth, free of shrill, jilted hysteria. Straight talking. Indignant. No nonsense. As with all blues women singers, whose main topic is always love, if they have to choose between singing a perfect note or expressing raw emotion. Emotion wins. Can’t you just see tough talking blue singers of old like Bessie Smith, Ma’ Rainey, and Alberta Hunter rolling over in their graves and giving each other hi-fives as they hear young women like Badu in “Call Tyrone” continuing the bawdy tradition of women singing the blues ?
I’m gettin’ tired of your s*&t
You don’t never buy me nothin’
See everytime you come around
You got to bring jim, james, paul, & tyrone
See why cant we be by ourselves, sometimes
See I’ve been having this on my mind
For a long time
I just want it to be
You and me
Like it used to be, baby
But ya don’t know how to act
You gotta love Badu’s last line of the song - “But you can’t use my phone“– that’s gotta be the smartest, most perfectly timed, send-off dis in women’s break up music. IMO. A real jab to the male solar plexus. A line that belongs on a Valentine’s Day card –to your ex. I believe in love. I really do. But I also believe in a woman knowing when it’s time to call it quits and take back her self.
It’s a few days before the elections, and I probably shouldn’t be wasting my moral capital on any topic other than this historic moment. But I need something to take my mind off politics right now.
Nostalgia sent me on the hunt for an old Whitney Houston song that still makes me crumble in a heap on the floor. Not before chills run down my spine. That voice. That voice. That voice. There will never be another voice like hers. I’m probably the only one who cares a twit about whether Whitney Houston ever comes back. I’m probably the only one in the universe who wonders how she’s doing and if she’s on the mend emotionally and spiritually. No matter how dumb a decision it was for her to marry Bobby Brown, I forgive her. Falling in love with a man you’re better off without is, for some of us, one of the many rites of passages you survive to becoming the woman you’re gonna be.
I listen to Whitney singing “I Will Always Love You” and remember. I remember what it felt like to be young and given to suicidal love affairs. I remember what it felt like to sit in my apartment and cry my natural born heart out over someone who is perfect in every way except in the way that matters most. It’s been years since I’ve been hostage to that achey breaky kind of love that’s so consuming you can’t get out of bed.
You know his love is no good for you. You know you are not what he needs. You know he makes you crazy. But you’re powerless to do anything about it. He’s like a drug that won’t flush out your system.
But you know you gotta let him go. Because loving him is killing you.
After several failed tries you finally break up for good, but in the meantime it felt like you were being hacked to death.
You survive. You move on. But you never get over it. Sure, you get over him. But not it. That feeling of being obsessed with something or someone you could have and didn’t need, but didn’t care that you couldn’t have and didn’t need. Desire. It was all about desire. The drug that makes you feel so alive that it threatens to destroy you…
Whew! Earth to Renita. Come back, girl.
All that from listening to Whitney Houston sing in that remarkable voice of hers, “I Will Always Love You” as part of the soundtrack to movie “The Body Guard” (which she starred in with Kevin Costner).
Oh yeah, it’s lurker Friday. It’s also Halloween.
Leave a comment and rescue me from wherever it was that I just went. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!