No Anne Hathaway shaving her head. No monkeys in test-tubes. No cartoon animals losing their parents.
No ‘heart-wrenching but ultimately life-affirming’ stories.
Expendable wingman with young wife and blonde daughter. Deputy sheriff taking ‘one last job’. Young mother taking on the establishment.
I know your game. Two hours waiting for you to die/loseyourdog/missthetrain/contracttheillness/gethitbytheasteroid.
Russell Crowe emoting in my face. My eyes, Russell, my eyes.
I don’t blame Hollywood. My problem is with emotions themselves. Feelings: what are they good for? Absolutely nothing. Dribbling at the dinner party. Lighting bonfires in the garden. Tapping at the windows when we’re trying to get to sleep. Wailing and whining and needy and noisy. Embarrassing and unnecessary.
Let’s be rid of them. Imagine it now. A world without Meg Ryan and black eyeliner. No sadness, no anger, no fear, no heartbreak. Nothing.
Sure, it’s not completely ideal. We’d miss out on love, joy, hope, laughter and er – life. But wouldn’t that be easier? Wouldn’t it be safe?
Compare this to the bible’s picture of our emotions. In Scripture our hearts can be failed, faint, glad, hard, willing, stirred, sorrowful, obstinate, lifted up, circumcised, wicked, grieved, hot, astonished, trembling, melted, inclined, merry, rejoicing, naughty, offended, dead, desirous, despising, lion-like, bowed, upright, understanding, large, turned away, turned back, sore troubled, tender, double, perfect, tried, prepared, free, united, proud, soft, walking, deceived, enticed, hypocritical, trembling, firm, proved, wax-like, pure, enlarged, strengthened, disquieted, panting, meditating, clean, contrite, sore pained, fixed, overwhelmed, poured out, set, froward, smitten, brought down, wounded, inclined, fat, sound, desolate, subtil, perverse, heavy, sick, haughty, fretting, despairing, hasty, ravished, awake, moved, stout, fearful, revived, evil, washed, rebellious, uncircumcised, deceitful, turned, affected, whorish, stony, idolatrous, weak, new, bitter, of flesh, divided, exalted, rent, lowly, waxed gross, far from God, good, slow, burning, troubled, pricked, single, not right, opened, impenitent, anguished, veiled, blind, true, established, (Glen counted more than a hundred).
Like it or not, we are heart-y people. We were made to feel. Real life is not about sealing off your heart or squelching your emotions. Like rubber ducks in the bath – no matter how long you push ’em under, they always pop back up.
Paul doesn’t use the duck analogy. But he’s on the same page. Whether we deny our feelings (‘lose all sensitivity’) or indulge them, (‘giving ourselves over to sensuality’ -Ephesians 4:18-19), we can’t escape them.
According to the bible, real life begins when we ask the Spirit of Jesus to “take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26. It continues as we give this heart of flesh away. To paraphrase Lewis, a safe heart is a dead one. If we want to live, we’d better love.