Just watched a movie from 2010 – The Company Men – about three guys who lose their jobs at a large company when the recession bites and the firm is forced to downsize. People are reduced to commodities, things to be moved on so that others can survive.
Seems to me this was a brave movie to make during a bad time. People go to the cinema and rent and stream movies to escape, not to be confronted with the hard issues of present reality. Me – I really got caught up in watching it, the trailer gives it a feelgood flavour, but much of the film concentrates on the trouble and pain these folk face when they are cast off and cannot easily find new work.
Some people are incredibly successful in life – but all of us experience trouble and failure, whether in our families, friends, work, faith or social life. We can all speak the language of failure. A couple of years ago I went to hear Rob Bell speak about suffering in his presentation Drops Like Stars. During the evening we were asked to write I know how you feel on a small piece of card with our non-writing hand, our weak hand. He then invited us to stand if our lives had been touched in any way by severe illness. We passed our cards to one another and I still have the one given to me. Rob made a couple of comments. Firstly, If he had asked those of us who had been to Spain for a holiday to swap cards the connection would not have had the same depth of meaning at all. Secondly the cross is the supreme demonstration of God writing with his weak hand. I searched on Google and found this card from someone else who had experienced that presentation.
In The Company Men one family have to move out of their stunning house and move in with relatives. All seems lost to Ben Affleck’s character. He feels deeply humiliated. But his wife does not see things the same way.
As the trailer for The Company Men says, life sometimes has other plans. It ambushes us, wrestles us to the floor, sometimes just as we think we are about to fly. Jesus understands this, his life was anything but straightforward. He found himself in very difficult situations, had his heart broken, and experienced harsh life under an oppressive regime. He knew frustration and disappointment. He ran his own business with his father and they must have lived through high taxation and times of recession. God in the gutter, facing life in all its wonder, shocks and harsh reality. Writing with his weak hand.