Loving others is not easy,
because relationships are often messy, frustrating, and confusing, and often as not the mess, frustration and confusion comes from us, and not the other party. Sadly, these messes can occur because we fail to listen and honestly see and understand each other, let alone God. The movie Where the Wild Things Are, based on the classic children’s book by Maurice Sendak, provides a depth and clarity about human relationships that few movies come close to representing. It illustrates how much we need the love of God, and the Holy Spirit directing us, to listen to each other, so we can love each other.
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1
For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14
Where the Wild Things Are, a movie based on the book by Maurice Sendak.
The movie presents a boy, Max, who loves to play and pretend, but longs for some time with his older sister or mom. Time after time he faces frustration when they are too busy to spend more than a minute or two with him. The boy loses it when his mom has a date over and she becomes exasperated at his attention-grabbing antics. He bolts from the house, through the yard, down the street and into a wooded area, leaving his chasing mother lost behind him. He comes to a clearing and before him is a large body of water and an empty sailboat. He jumps in and is off, bound for freedom. After what seems like hours when his boat is tossed and it looks like he is lost at sea, he crashes on an island. He wanders through the woods and watches as one large, hairy creature is raging about his frustrations and destroying, one wooded hut after another.
The boy, no doubt feeling a certain fraternity with this monster, wanders into the gathering and convinces them that he is a king from another place, and he can help solve their frustrations—which are with each other. For a short time Max succeeds, but then things fall apart, first relationships and then the amazing structures they build to live in. Max and the wild things are vulnerable with each other in their hurts, in their pain. Before he leaves, Max and the others hear each other and then can really see who this other person is. And for the first time, what they hear and see is who the person is and not the caricature they created in their mind. Max ends up returning home, chastened, as are the wonderful wild things he leaves behind on the mysterious island.
When we take the time to listen to God, not only in prayer but in our relationships, the Holy Spirit can act through us and in the relationship. When we recognize it is Christ’s wonderful gift to us, the Holy Spirit, who best directs, encourages, and teaches us in each and every situation, then God’s kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy can be lived out in our lives and the lives of those around us.
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Philippians 2