Several months ago we watched a movie that had an interesting and memorable effect on us as a family. As a result of this movie we experienced a sense of sadness that lasted for several days.
Let me tell you about it.
The movie is ‘Marley and Me’ and during this movie we laughed so hard I thought we would all literally fall off of our seats. We laughed knowing that we would soon be crying. I think that made us laugh even harder.
Sure enough, soon we were all crying. We weren’t the only ones either. There were sniffles all around us. The fact that we could be moved from happiness to sadness in a short time, by a movie, and have it last for several days, intrigued me.
Sadness enters your life quietly and then establishes itself in your emotions, and can stay for a long season and affect every part of your life. So, in this post I want to share with you how to move your life beyond sadness.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, let me tell you a little about it and why the Moreau family could so resonate with this movie.
This is a movie based on a true story written by John Grogan and it follows the life of the Grogan family, over a thirteen-year period.
Marley, the undeniable star of the show, is a yellow Labrador Retriever and to say he is highly strung or energetic dog is a severe understatement. Marley was a boisterous and uncontrollable dog. He was strong willed, powerful, endlessly hungry, eager to be active, and often destructive. The house was trashed on more than one occasion.
Of course, to us sitting in comfortable seats, in an air conditioned theater, eating popcorn, a long way from the painful reality of the Grogan house, it was hilarious! But to John Grogan and his wife Jen, (who funnily enough was played by Jennifer Anniston) this was a challenging and sometimes overwhelming season in their life.
In the movie Marley simply fails to grasp the fact that he is a dog. It’s a simple concept. Humans act like humans, and dogs act like dogs! Of course, if you have a dog, you know this concept only works for humans. It very rarely works for dogs. Marley has the mindset that he was human and that as such, he has a right to an opinion and a say in the way things should be run.
This was of course long before the Dog Whisperer was on television and I have some personal doubts that even he could have done anything with Marley.
Early in the movie, after watching Marley perform some insane act and destroy half the house, John simply said, “Mental illness might be a plausible explanation for his behavior.”
Perhaps one of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Marley runs amok on a Miami beach, and dry-humps the character played by Kathleen Turner. All John could say to her was, “Sorry. He normally goes for poodles,”
Anyway… as you would expect, all Marley’s acts and behaviors are forgiven and you just can’t help but fall in love with this four legged wrecking machine…..even though you knew the sadness was coming.
I guess the reason the Moreau family could resonate so much with the Grogan family is because we have our own version of Marley…..and his name is Chester.
Chester is our Labrador and he truly thinks he is the baby of the family…… and he acts like it.
For some reason, which I can’t quite put my finger on today, I made an unbelievably insane decision two and half years ago that Charlie, our wonderful intelligent and incredibly obedient, low maintenance Border Collie, needed to have a companion.
So, did I choose a gentle, small, equally low maintenance, obedient dog?
I chose a ‘self centered, whine like a spoil brat’ dog that started out being a small puppy but has become as big as a small horse and eats twice as much! Chester will eat almost anything. No kidding! I’ve fed Chester everything I can find and this dog doesn’t even chew. He chomps and swallows! The only thing I’ve found that he won’t eat is a lemon….although it was funny watching him try!
Just like Marley, Chester wants to control every situation. He wants to be the first person…..oh, I meant the first dog……out the door when it opens and then the first to bulldoze his way back inside….no matter who it is trying to get in.
I had my arms full of groceries one night and Chester decided that he had the right of passage into the door first. After I picked myself up off the concrete where he body slammed me, Chester and I had a sit down, serious discussion about his manners and who the boss really was. I’m still not convinced he got the message.
Oh…and if you ever come to visit us, Chester will most likely be the first one to greet you. Now, I must warn you, he does this in an untraditional sort of way. Chester will sniff you in places that a human is probably not used to being sniffed. I think I’ve said enough about that for now. My advise is to call before you turn up at our house and I’ll try to cut him off at the pass…..so to speak.
Well, for my family, Chester kept coming to mind as we watched Marley and Me.
You see, we could literally feel the emotions of the movie. We could associate with the laughter of having a dog like Marley and the sadness of losing a vital part of the family dynamic.
When we got home, as I was saying goodnight to my daughter, she looked at me, tears in her beautiful blue eyes and asked in a quiet, hesitant voice, “Dad if Charlie or Chester die, can we get another dog?”
Sadness had come into our home and it stayed for a few days.
In the next post I will talk about how sadness can be used as a motivational energy, which if used correctly, will enable you to overcome and move beyond it.
Until then……take my advice and DON’T BUY A PUPPY JUST BECAUSE HE’S CUTE!