I finally watched my brother's favorite movie with him tonight. A River Runs Through It is pretty much a way of life to him. It was fantastic and kind of made me feel like I've been missing out on something all this time when I hadn't seen it. I absolutely loved it, as I assumed I would, since it's his favorite. Now would probably be a good time to mention that my brother, Alex, is my very favorite person on the face of the earth. I love him more than anything, and we have always understood each other better than anyone else understands either one of us, as far as I can tell. (As a brief parenthetical digression, the picture above is my brother, fly fishing, and was taken by his friend and roommate, Joel. I had a conversation with a friend of mine about the symbolism in my default picture on the blog, and it inspired me to use photography on here more. I will probably, from now on, only use pictures I've taken, or perhaps pictures of me, but this one seemed too appropriate not to use.) It's really a beautiful thing. This movie was just the same. I totally see why it's his favorite, and it is now among my favorites, too. It's exactly the kind of movie that we both love: it's about something earthy and natural and not overdone or epic or huge, something real.
And while it's about fly-fishing in one sense, at its core, it's just about life. The message is summed up in the words of Rev. Maclean's final sermon:
"... but you can love completely without complete understanding."
I'm so thankful that that's the truth. I am so thankful that the people around me--my family, my friends, my church--love me, even though, to varying degrees, they don't understand what's going on within me. They don't completely understand, but they love me anyway. This message, while not terribly deep or profound, I realize, is one that I probably needed to come into contact with at this point in my life. You see, I have a desperate, undying, burning desire to understand people. All of them. At every moment. I want to know what makes people tick. What brings them joy. What makes them hurt. What makes them love. What makes them do everything they do. As a future psychologist, and as a human being, it is my life's goal, simple, yet impossible: understand people. And yet, understanding is not what Christ commands:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)
He calls me to love Him, which clearly entails a great lack of understanding (if you've made any sort of effort to love God, you know this), and He calls me to love my brothers and sisters, none of whom I can completely understand, and many of whom I don't even know.
The truth, it seems, is that I can, indeed, love completely without understanding completely, but that I will never understand completely if I do not, first, love.
And so I will keep trying. I imagine that I will keep failing, but because there is grace, I will keep trying. And trying. And trying.
I have never been fly fishing, but it seems as if, like Norman, I, too, am haunted by waters.