“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
So, there we were. In the air, Michelle is upset b/c we’re leaving our three little ones to trek across the country for a couple days on the West Coast. Headphones in, eyes transfixed on the ipad screen. She let me choose the movie. You’d think I was smarter and would have chosen a comedy to lift her spirits. She was really nervous about leaving the kids…especially since Emerson, our youngest, was only 16 months old – and, still nursing. Again, I got to choose the movie.
Tears started rolling down our faces early on and they didn’t seem to stop for the entire 2 hours. I think the lady sitting next to us thought we were crazy : ) Michelle still tells the story today and laughs about my choice. I mean who in their right mind would choose A Fault in our Stars, a movie about two teens who are fighting cancer, when their wife is freaking out about leaving her kids? I laugh about it…we both do.
So, the truth is, I didn’t realize how dramatic the movie would be. Not my fault, right? If you’ve never seen the movie, I highly, highly recommend it. Here’s the IMDB Page (the book is by John Green).
The story is about two teenagers (Augustus and Hazel Grace), who meet at a cancer support group. It’s a love story and a story of their epic battle with cancer. I won’t ruin it for you, if you haven’t seen it, but it’s a profound movie. It’s a tale about the power of love and the power of pain. And, sometimes it’s the pain that leads to the love.
I’m writing this b/c I feel like there are some key messages in the story. It resonated with me so greatly. And, I think it planted seeds for me to open up about my challenges with anxiety & depression (add link to post). In the story, Augustus – a 17-year old who lost a leg to cancer and continued his battle, keeps an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
“It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”
I love this. It’s something we all can benefit from. It really helped propel me to share my story. To open up about not being as perfect as meets the eye. That “killing” is just a stroke of a match away. But, Augustus keeps it in his mouth…as a reminder of his strength. It’s staring fear in the face. It’s bringing whatever is holding you back to the forefront. It’s awareness. It’s not running from the shit storms life can throw at you. It’s a profound message. You acknowledge the struggle, but you don’t give it power. This resonated with me greatly and I thought it might benefit others – that’s why I’m writing this post today.
The story is one that will grip your heart. It’s a love story, but it’s also a story about pain…about the inevitability of sadness and hurt in our lives. But, that doesn’t have to be the whole story. You see, we all have a choice.
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”
We all have a choice to decide if our hurts define us…or if our hurts can be a fork in the road…and potentially lead to our healing if we embrace them. As the title says, there is fault in our stars, but the truth is there is fault in ourselves. The more we embrace these faults, the better off we’ll be.
There’s a quote in the story where Hazel is thinking about her swing set. She was reflecting on her childhood and a time when she was healthy…and felt safe. Her swing set reminded her of her childhood.
“One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It’s all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.”
The message here is about our desire to have things the way they were…to try and “go all the way around” and back to a time in our life where everything fit into a nice little box…and was perfect. There’s beauty in that innocence, yes. But, you just can’t always go back to the way things were. Life is hard. But, there’s hope…if you can just change your mindset. Sometimes you’re dealt a bad hand, sometimes life grabs you by the throat, but the true test is how you respond. I’m learning to choose to respond “Above the Line”, to walk the talk so to speak. What about you?
So, if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I highly recommend doing one or the other. Just make sure you have a tissue box nearby : )