A Rusty Pail

We have all been there: Too many things to do and not enough time, Commitments to your friends and family, or maybe the financial pressures of the world are weighing you down. I do not want to be a Debbie Downer, but sometimes life is just a full of crap gathering in a rusty pail. As you grow older, there are so many more responsibilities and challenges that come into your life. I think the biggest challenge is simply figuring out what to do with your life. This has been a big struggle for me and my husband lately. I believe we are blessed in many ways, but things just seem to be a big mess. I have no clue what type of career to have or what I should do for work. All my life I’ve really only wanted to be part of a family and have children of my own. I feel like that is what I have been called to.

Now, I’m sure there is someone out there reeling in shock that an educated woman would want to be a homemaker in this day and age. However, I cannot think of any greater joy than raising my own children. On top of that joyful thought, I think I could do well in many careers. I have a good education and have experience in many different fields. I have worked in ministry, worked in a library, worked as a copy-editor, and so many more areas. Despite this, I cannot help but feel lost in regards to where to go from here. Do I pursue the current masters degree I am in now? Do I pursue a different one? Do I start a family? Do I do nothing? All of these questions racing around make me question why God has yet to direct me. I have prayed for direction and yet I still feel lost. Does God always tell us what to do? Maybe that’s just it. Maybe God is open to all the ideas I have. Or maybe I am unwilling to listen.

A lot of these feelings come down to being lost and a sense of hopelessness. It is very difficult to choose the “right” path to take when the world has so many different ideas of what success is. It is difficult to have a feeling of success when you have very little money and you are told financial freedom is success. It is so difficult to save and to get your life on track especially after accumulating school debt. Let me tell you, debt is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. I do believe having some debt from school is an investment, but it is still a very stressful experience. Given the rant above, what is success? Should I feel successful? Should I feel successful even if I have no idea what to do with my life?

I want to say yes, but I have no idea why. A roof over my head, food to eat, and people who care are successes in some sense. However, where is God in all this despair? Maybe He is the calming force that is telling me everything will be okay while that rusty pail is filling up. Whatever it is, I will hold onto that small cry of yes until I have the means to say I am successful for… Yes.

Inside Lewyn Davis’ really really sad life (spoilers within)

An odd movie to be on Netflix, but a very good one. The story of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a folk singing New Yorker wanting to become a professional musician with a record deal is a very good one. But there is more than that. Unlike other movies that build up issues until the climaxed-resolution Inside Llewyn Davis, begins with Llewyn without a home, his best friend’s wife (Carey Mulligan) is impregnated with what may be his own baby instead of his friend’s (Justin Timberlake), Llewyn’s best friend has already committed suicide and he is stuck with his other friend’s cat. Oh, and his music career won’t pick up… and he’s almost broke. Enough conflict?

Still not enough apparently. That was just the opening of the movie, later we also discover he also has had a very difficult break up with another girl we never meet but he seemed very serious about. (SPOILER ALERT) And unkown to him, this woman is raising their child. Llewyn’s sister, a struggling single mother, doesn’t want to have anything to do with him and their Father… well he honestly doesn’t give a crap (… he literally poops himself when Llewyn stops by to visit him in the retirement home). And Llewyn has serious emotional issues.

Jeez, I wonder why.

Around and in between all of this happening Lewyn is trying to get his record “Inside Llewyn Davis” publish and become a famous musician. It is quite obvious throughout the film that his entire life revolves around this single goal.

It isn’t always a bad thing though, he preforms several songs throughout the movie that show he actually has some real talent. What hurts even more though is  everyone else he knows is successful and musical to the point where the watcher just doesn’t get why they have so much success and Llewyn doesn’t. Is it his anger issue? Other emotional issue? His like of enthusiasm? Lack of regard for others? Lack of manors? Lack of income? Lack of personal security?

This dream of his isn’t a bad thing, and he is struggling through life like the rest of us just with a slight rougher time but he is a normal guy. There is one big issue with this dream of his though… it fails.

Unlike every other movie where they come up with that one great song that brings her back to life to show everything is going to be okay, or the band gets back together, or they are discovered and live the rest of their lives happily ever after… musically; Llewyn fails to become a musician and goes back to his career in his merchant marine union. BUT EVEN THAT FAILS. His sister threw out his license papers and he can’t afford to replace them.

The movie ends with Llewyn being beaten outside the bar by the angry husband of the woman he heckled the night before in misdirected anger. At that same time he is being beaten Bob Dylan is playing inside the bar his first ever New York performance which is the beginning of his famous career as a folk musician. (SPOILER ALERT) The last moment of the film is Llewyn lying on the ground, beaten and bleeding and shouts out to the driving away attacker “Au Revoir”.

Now. I know what you are thinking and no this movie is not as depressing as it sounds. It’s worse. And the reason for all of Llewyn’s failure is this; he was never destined to be a famous folk singer. Bob Dylan was, and is in real life and in that is the mirrored reflection of what Llewyn wanted to be but was never meant to.

Llewyn missed the point of his life, whatever he was meant to do or be it was not a folk singer even though that was literally all he aspired to. He just never got the hint, and probably never will.

In his pursuit to get a record label and a music career he lost his friends, family, health, a child, and a loyal cat. That final scene of him broken, beaten and bleeding on the street is all he is now. All he has left.

He could have helped his struggling sister, reconnect with his Father, be a true friend to those who let him sleep on their couch the entire movie or even better; help raise the child he has out there and even had a good opportunity to go meet the kid and the mother.

Sometimes we all miss the point of life. Something distracts us and we don’t know which way to go. Llewyn thought his life was meant to revolve around his music and lifestyle as a musician but as it seems; it really wasn’t.

The point of our lives is to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. And to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Anything other than this will leave us lost and confused seemingly without a purpose or direction. And even when we find our own path, who says it won’t end up as empty and unsuccessful as Llewyn’s? If it doesn’t, it’s thanks to God’s common grace to all man kind.