My oldest child is now old enough to start watching more “mature” movies with me and actually understand and appreciate them. We recently decided to watch “Gone with the Wind”. We’re slowly working our way through the four-hour film, watching a little bit at a time.
Yesterday, the day before Memorial Day, we decided to watch a little more. My other two children joined us. I warned them that it was an older movie and they might get bored. They decided to give it a try.
When we left off, our main characters were dealing with the war approaching Atlanta. This time, our heroine bravely walked through rows and rows of dead or dying soldiers waiting for burial or medical attention. All the kids were immediately interested. My second youngest asked what this movie was rated. Then, throughout the next few scenes, he talked non-stop about how he couldn’t believe this movie was rated “G” because it shows dead people and killing people and so much violence. My oldest didn’t say anything. She sat watching intently. I can only imagine how she was processing all of the moaning, blown-up men.
I wasn’t sure what to do or what to say. I usually limit what movies my children watch by following the rating system (which is why my son asked), yet here we were watching blood and gore. Should I protect my children from these disturbing scenes?
All I managed to say was, “That’s what happens in war….”
I have so much respect for the men and women who willingly sacrifice their lives to defend their homes and their families. Without much thought for their own safety, they have faced horrific scenes and push forward. I don’t know how they find the courage. I admire them so much.
But it also makes me really upset.
Why? Why does war happen in the first place? So many soldiers die on both sides of any war… and for what? Because diplomacy failed and the only way to resolve the issue is by violence?
I’ve heard the current political atmosphere compared to the Civil War. There is so much extremism, so much division. There is anger on both sides. We deal blows of unkindness and seem to disregard one another. Families are politically divided. There is no safe space for political conversations. Within the first few words, it’s determined which side you’re on. Are you an ally? Then you are an enemy.
I’ve heard people express genuine concern for the peaceful future of our country. Many predict some possible breaking point when words become weapons and we’re looking at rows and rows of casualties.
My instinct is to protect myself, shield myself from the horrors of what is going on in politics. I don’t want to be exposed to “rated-R” conversations. They are awful and uncomfortable. But protecting myself doesn’t stop it from happening.
And so I find myself inspired today by the reminder that war can be avoided. It’s not avoided by turning away but by facing the realities of where we are right now. It’s awful what we say to each other. It’s awful what we do to each other.
How do I enlist to be part of the solution?