Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003 at a local farm. Mattie and I were meeting a donkey, who walked over to us. Mattie was intrigued by the donkey and despite the fact that this animal was much bigger than he was, Mattie did not seem intimidated at all. Mattie was simply curious and wanted to know what donkeys eat and like to do with their time.
Quote of the day: Grief is neither a disorder nor a healing process; it is a sign of health itself, a whole and natural gesture of love. Nor must we see grief as a step towards something better. No matter how much it hurts – and it may be the greatest pain in life – grief can be an end in itself, a pure expression of love. ~ Gerald May
Our home smells like a candy factory!!! In fact, even though I love chocolate, I am overwhelmed by the powerful fragrance this evening. Peter went to Ann's house this morning and picked up all the candy that people have been graciously donating and delivering for the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Post Halloween Hospital Candy Drive. When Peter brought the candy to our home, we got out all our Foundation Walk sorting boxes, and Peter spent hours combing through all the candy to make sure each item was securely wrapped and then sorted into an appropriate bin. As you can see even our cat, Patches, was part of the sorting process! I like pre-sorting the candy, because it makes it easier for the hospital staff to store it and to stock the snack cart. For the next few days, I will be counting the items to provide a grand tally on the blog and for our newsletter. So stay tuned, but Peter estimates there is about 40 pounds of candy in our midst, and we know more is still being delivered. All I know is that these donations will be greatly appreciated by all the families at Georgetown University Hospital who are caring for their very sick children.
At the end of the sorting process this is what our current totals look like. Now the fun part for me will be sitting down and counting all of this!
My parents recommended another movie to us, and for a third weekend in a row (an all time record for me!), we went to the movies. We saw the movie, Courageous. Before we saw Dolphin Tale and Moneyball the previous weekends, we read a synopsis of the movie. However for Courageous we went into this movie without reading the synopsis. I had a general idea what it was about, but I did not prepare Peter for the content of the film.
Courageous is actually a courageous film to produce. It in essence is about the challenges of fatherhood. The movie cites research studies that indicate a high correlation between crime and individuals who grow up in fatherless households (or households where the father did not play an active role). The movie takes you on a journey following five fathers. Most of these dads were part of the Georgia Police force, and work extremely hard by day, but by the time they get home, they have no energy for their families, especially their children. They consider themselves "good enough dads!" Well that is until one of the police officers loses his nine year old daughter in a car accident. Her death sends the family reeling and questioning life, reality, God, and the future. In fact, this is one of the first films I have seen that depicts the raw and very real feelings parents go through when grieving the loss of a child. Parts of the movie were almost impossible for us to watch, and at one point Peter got up and walked out of the theatre. He came back within five minutes, but needed space. When he returned, I asked him if he wanted to leave, and he said no.
I could sense Peter's level of discomfort during the movie, but as long as he was okay, then we decided to stick it out. Crying and all! However, it was worth it, because the story line was indeed quite powerful! I wish more fathers would be willing to sit down and assess their level of true involvement and commitment to their families. A commitment that must go beyond financial support in order to have a meaningful and a lasting impact on their children. Clinically, time and time again, I have observed that families who experience difficulties with their children, particularly sons, is due to an emotional disconnect between the father and the child. I am proud of this movie company for taking on this subject matter and for getting its audience to think and reflect. The sad part about all of this is that Peter was NEVER the kind of father who needed to see this movie to get pointers on fatherhood. Peter worked very hard by day, but also by night. When he came home from work, he never sat in front of the tv, computer, or read a book. He was a devoted dad, an engaged dad, and needed NO prompting to spend time with his son. That is the sad reality of our picture.
Here is the published synopsis of this movie:
Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark. When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a new found urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children? Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the movie making ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.
As many of my faithful readers know, since Mattie's death I have a very challenging time connecting with God and my religion. This movie, was financed by Sherwood Pictures, which is run by a Baptist church in Albany, GA. This company has produced three other movies, which I haven't seen, but I have included a link to the movie, which includes the trailer below for you to see. The father who lost his daughter in the movie, turned to God, and by doing so, became motivated to evaluate what God wanted from him as a person and as a father. It was a moving and spiritual journey to watch.
I admit I was interested in learning more about Sherwood Pictures tonight. So I googled them and found the link below if this interests you as well. I guess I am absolutely stunned that a movie like this is out there in the theatres, because I can assure you this is NOT something Hollywood would OR COULD have produced.