Are You There God, It's me....
Thanks to the T-Mobile Tuesday Rewards program, I took myself to see a movie on Saturday that I would have never chosen for myself. Are You There God? It's me Margaret. An adaption from the original book by writer Judy Blume, first published in 1970.
The movie was an adorable and contemplative movie starring newcomer Abby Ryder Fortson (as Margaret), Rachel McAdams and KATHY BATES as her Jewish, Brooklyn Grandmother (swoon). Abby was 12, but as reflective (and speculative) as I was at that age. I read my journals from back then and I had life under constant interrogation, often providing my own answers to lifes questions.
Imagine living in Brooklyn, above a pizzeria and then being thrust to the armpit (the scripts words, not mine) of NYC, New Jersey. The agony, the horror, the shore. I experience the same physical distress feeling every time I leave that lively (but exhausting), flambouant city to return to the south. Her New Journey to New Jersey, (I know it's a state, but follow me) whisks her into an odyssey of discovery into her relationship with God through religion as a child of liberal parents who are allowing her to choose despite her maternal and fraternal grandparental influences.
The film was so inclusive, and culturally thoughtful and I enjoyed it (I am pretty sure baby Jesus in the nativity scene was POC). The director takes Margaret and the audience to a temple, a baptist church, and a catholic church, respectfully.
In addition, each time Rachel McAdams was on screen I couldn't help but wonder, is this the life Allie and Noah would have had, if her mother hadn't hidden the letters that Noah sent to Allie all those years. Allie as a former artist, now a stay-at-home mom and Noah leaving the house every day with a briefcase to do something corporate (1970s style).
I mean a woman from a Christian background marrying a Jewish man and being disowned by her parents for it, is not far from coming from wealth and marrying poor; Not aligning Christianity or Judaism with being poor or rich, just a figurative analysis.
On my spiritual journey I have read a number of books about contemplative Conversations with God. The most recent, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. This film simplified the inquiry reminding me that the dialogue, the inquiries and the expressions aren't very different. Margaret's exchanges (an exchange of language, emotion and feeling) were often sprinkled with frustration and haste. However, the way she talked to God was so raw. I believe as adults we speak to God as if he is a professor, instead of a companion. What if no one is up there? Is the inquiry harmful?
We have to remind ourselves to be as curious as we were at 12, 22 and even 32 (and beyond). The answers aren't clearer. However, what I have discovered in trying to find THE ANSWERS is that there are many answers and that I can have conversations with God, outside of asking for answers. It's easy to pray and feel that nothing happens because I am looking for answers. The answer is in the question and the answer has more questions than answers.
By the end of the movie, I was asking myself an adapted version of the same question. God, I know you're there, what do you think about this? By the way, it's me, Q.