Film Friday: Jackie

A journalist arrives at Jackie Kennedy’s house, not long after her husband’s funeral, to conduct an interview for an article he is writing.

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‘Don’t marry the president.’
So says Jackie Kennedy. There was clearly a cost for her in being the first lady. In the clip below you see her and Jack arriving in Dallas, before the fateful day of the assassination. Though she claims to love crowds it’s not long before she appears overwhelmed and a little bewildered.

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Jackie tells the journalist plenty of things about her life and her experience of the assassination, but she will only permit him to print certain bits. She frequently has a cigarette in her hand, but tells him (for the article) ‘I don’t smoke.’
Jackie struggles with the limelight. In the film she says, ‘I never wanted fame. I just became a Kennedy.’ And, ‘I value my privacy. I always have.’
Someone once said, ‘What’s the best thing about life? Other people. What’s the worst thing about life? Other people!’ Folks can be a blessing or a spanner in the works, and if like Jackie, you’re an introvert, then life can seem very demanding at times.

Jesus spent three years in the limelight, people clamouring to see him every day. He faced demands from a needy public, pressure from those who wanted to get in his way and misunderstanding from his friends. On one occasion, after taking time out up a mountain with his father and a few close friends, he came down to earth with a bump. The crowds were waiting for him, and he was immediately presented with a tough problem that they could not solve. We’re told Jesus often went off to quiet places to pray and be with his father, taking to heart perhaps the words from Psalm 46 v 10, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Psalms 37, 40 and 62 all speak of coming before the Lord and waiting quietly. Jesus would have known these psalms well. It may have been these times of quiet and solitude which helped him get through some of the more public testing times. He had to deal with a lot of conflict in those three years, time and again people came at him with questions, troubles and accusations. I wonder whether his 40 days in the wilderness also helped prepare him for the difficulties of the fame that sought him out.

Being still is not easy. I am an introvert. And like Jackie I value my privacy. But I still find it hard to really still myself, to slow down and be with God in this present moment, the past plays videos in my head and the immediate future quickly comes knocking with its demands. I remember a line from a prayerful poem by journalist Martin Wroe which went, ‘I don’t do quiet… so, what’s the chance of a still big voice in the noise…’ I like that, and I appreciate the honesty. I do sometimes connect with God in the noise, hearing him through the conversations of others, or films, or radio programmes. But I suppose I also need to shut everything down. To stop myself, even for five seconds, so that if nothing else, I’m worshipping God by giving him my sole attention. Though the span of it may be all too brief. I’m sure that kind of thing feeds our spirits, and perhaps enables us for the clamour of the rest of the day.

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