As if I haven’t said it 100 times, I love “You’ve Got Mail.” If you also love YGM, carry on reading. If you do not, check ya later.
Hope we didn’t lose anyone back there. Because YGM is great and we should all be on the same page about that. And especially now because Tom Hanks led us into this virus and maybe just maybe he can help lead us out of it too.
Picture the elevator scene. Just a normal day everyone going home up to their apartments and 4 characters get stuck in the elevator. Of course everyone is annoyed. And a little scared/nervous. And because a New York minute is very fast and they end up in there for an hour it provides a nice little mini quarantine for us to examine in a time such as this.
Begin scene: The first person to break silence is the southern lady holding the dog. She says, “If I ever get out of here I’m gonna call my mama. I wonder what she’s doing right this minute.” Her name is actually Veronica Grant I found out. Next up is Charlie the elevator attendant. He’s decided, “If I ever get out of here I’m gonna marry Oreet.” Which all this time I thought he was saying “Marie” because I’ve never heard the name Oreet. This paragraph is full of Trivial Pursuit gems. The best line is Parker Posey, Patricia, who “makes coffee nervous” and says, “If I ever get out of here I’m getting my eyes lasered.” So betchy and perfect. Joe, Tom Hanks, starts to say what he would do but gets cut off because Patricia desperately needs her Tic Tacs. End Scene.
FRAME WITH FRUIT
Because I always watch this as one of my “fall asleep to movies” –particularly in stressful times– it’s been on a loop. So, the other night I was talking to my sister-in-law, Scarlette, about my post “Peaceful Pop Tart” from the other day. In the post I explained that it has helped me find some peace to frame the situation with a question. Someone had asked me weeks ago in a different scenario “What does Kindness look like in this situation?” and it has developed into a useful tool for what we are experiencing now. I was searching for peace and it helped me find it. Simply, “What does Peace look like in this situation?” They key is to frame the stressful situation with your search for the fruit in it so as to find what might result in goodness. Make a list. “So, What does Trust look like in this situation?” she asked.
In short response, I think Trust, in regards to what God is doing in the situation, is found in Hope. But the conundrum sometimes when “Hope” is the answer is that hope can feel far down the road. It can feel like a future-tense, abstract idea rather than an action or something to hold. It’s something you know you have, just like I knew I had kindness even though I was still searching for it. How do you activate it for specifically when you need it rather than worry that you’ve lost it? What does Hope look like in this situation? Where do you find your Hope when you go looking for it? Where do you find it when you need to hold it rather than assume you already know it?
Where I find mine is when I realize not necessarily what I’m outright hoping for which is obviously big abstract things: for the virus to go away, for safety, for life to go back to normal again. That actually makes me feel sort of fearful and protective over my roost. It’s when I realize what I don’t want to do when I get out of the elevator that reminds me where my hope is. It reveals pockets of hope that I am unknowingly protective of.
BACK TO THE ELEVATOR
Here’s what I mean. Did any one character in the YGM elevator say, “If I ever get out of this elevator… I am NEVER getting on an elevator again!” …And then living an exhausting, sweaty, perpetually late and dysfunctional life in NYC taking the stairs up to buildings with 50th & 70th floors? No! But that is an actual option people consider and choose. People hunker down. In an attempt to prevent ever having a problem again they end up living a life centered around whatever the problem is they’re trying to avoid. Like if you choose to live in a bunker what kind of life will you get to experience in the actual world, what are you even protecting?
Instead, these 4 characters want relationships & Goods and Services like Lasik! In this too I want my relationships to be deeper and more focused. My cup runneth over with gratitude and love and joy even when I’m paranoid and stressed. And I also want the goods like hair dye and botox and hell at this point a lot of other things because trauma makes you crave things that you can control. Instant results. Change. I just picture people going in to see their derms and yelling “Fill ’em up!” like Goldie Hawn in First Wives Club.
If I’m being dead honest that sounds kind of fabulous in a way I’m completely aware is whatever it is… Not from my most soulful, grounded and secure self.
But Tom Hanks’ character, Joe, doesn’t even get to say what he’s going to do. He starts to and I wonder what he even would have said?? But the point is he did have something he wanted to do outside of the elevator. He gets cut off though and presumably just sits there thinking. In that unexpected lengthy quiet time he is able to confirm something he already knows to be true deep down. We can see it as the viewer, but to him, the situation looks very unclear and risky and uncertain. He doesn’t know with clarity that he’s going to marry Kathleen like Charlie and Oreet. He just knows what he doesn’t want and that reveals where his pocket of hope is. Even if it means he is going to live on a boat for a bit. That’s his new path.
And in this situation I would not say, “If I ever get outta here I am NEVER going to have fewer than 100 rolls of toilet paper in my house.” I mean, maybe I would actually covertly do that, PTSD and such- and this is grief afterall (READ THIS)– but what I’m actually saying in my Q-days is… “If I ever get out of this elevator I’m going to have an end-of-the-year school party at my house. And I don’t care if those kids tear the place apart I need JOY!” And “If I ever get out of here we are going to turn a section of our driveway into a pickle ball court and have pickle ball parties.” I mean, I’m an extrovert so clearly I’m jonesin’ for a gatherin’, but I hope you catch my drift. I’ve got plans! And fun ones. I’ve also got more serious thoughts and plans, but the good ones don’t start with “I am NEVER…..” they generate instead from a place that gives me happiness because they have in mind people I love and plans to have fun and laugh. I want to laugh a lot.
For me, the plans reveal where determination is in the struggle, even in really simple ways. Delight in the simple things. Determination is actually inspiring brainstorms and creativity and ideas. The fact that there is flow somewhere shows that you’re finding your way back to the hope highway. Stagnation, fear and full-stops like “I will NEVER do that again” statements only succeed in roadblocking that highway.
Hope moves like a current, always forward, generating and creating. “Hope is flowing like a river…” And when I can detect that motion in any small way, that’s how I know that I am holding on to Hope. That I do have Trust. It may feel shaky at times when all I can see is how big of a problem this is, because I’m a little human mind. But Hope is so much larger always because of the source from whom it is born and how it is gifted to us so freely.
I also think it grows larger and larger as we share it with each other. I’d be willing to bet it can be more contagious than the other thing we are battling. It will remain nameless, but we will be anything but hopeless! And full circle to the Hanks family, as it turns out Rita Wilson was like, “If I ever get out of this elevator I’m going to rap Naughty By Nature perfectly.”
Watch that here. And that is nothing if not a FLOW… “and if you don’t know, now you know.”
“Hope you’re mango’s ripe!”