Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mrs. Doubtfire

Divorce. Common place in our world today, but it is still an action taken between two adults that can have very adverse affects on others (namely, in the case of the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, children). 

This movie came out in the early 90s. Divorce then was common place and it has only risen to an almost expected reaction to couples who 'cannot work out their issues'. I should know. I've gone through a divorce.

What has been a most important step for me is to not feel entitled but act in every circumstance possible with respect. If I feel I am entitled, I all of a sudden have an enumerable list of things that I believe I deserve. If, by contrast, I act on respect (in relationship to my ex-spouse and her relationships that exist, as well as self-respect and those within my own circle), though the journey of separation and eventual divorce is a hard road, it can be woven with peace.

In the example of the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, it is most certainly evident that the father (played by none other than Robin Williams) loves his kids; he would do anything for them. And that 'anything' means dressing up as a woman, so he can see his kids every day...and at the tail-end of the movie, he confesses insanity to describe his motive. He was crazy about his kids and needed and would do anything to see them. But, to the judge, his version and definition of insanity looked far different and his pronouncement and judgment was clear. He believed Daniel was not 'crazy for his kids', but he was just simply crazy and needed extensive counseling to resolve what was going on in his mind.

As the movie plays out, there are many characters that we are introduced to - all playing a pivotal role in the healing and new-roads that will be charted with this divorce of two people. We have the 'new guy' on the scene, who, some would say, was too new (which is described in one of the most funniest scenes where the mother, played by none other than Sally Fields, asks Mrs. Doubtfire if she had ever had sexual relations after her (fictional) husband died; to which the awful word of celibacy was introduced to Sally Fields' character). We have the family, both children and the extended family. We then have the extended circle of relationships, some old, and some new, that come on the scene as this divorce plays out. I could give a detailed account of each of these people. I feel very guilty about not giving them more time in this post as they most definitely deserve more than a passing mention (esp. how each plays such a powerful role in support and love for both people). But, for the remainder of this post, I would like to delve into what, in my opinion, is the most glaringly obvious theme that the story gives to us on such a precious gift-platter that, if we miss it, we'll miss a whole lot more in life. It's the Gift of Peace.

Not often do we see a 'fight scene' between the husband and wife, but it is very clear that these two characters have grown apart and there is much more that the director could have put in the script to communicate the downward spiral of their relationship. Yet it is clear they have much conflict that has not been resolved. But both are keenly aware, as well, the effects of this divorce (seen in both of the characters' eyes as Miranda communicates she wants a divorce early-on in the movie) - namely on the children. Yet The Gift of Peace that I'm referring to is the final scene and turning point in the movie. After all that has transpired, after all the insanity that Robin William's character has gone through, after the final and most hurtful court ruling for supervised visitation, Miranda seeks out Daniel after another session that Mrs. Doubtfire has on her new children's program. She seeks to speak to him and asks in a very kind and considerate way, if they can talk. Daniel obliges and they meet in Mrs. Doubtfire's living room (an incredible director's choice; more on that in a minute).

Miranda begins to explain that she doesn't want to 'hurt [their] children...' and passion erupts. She sees, yet again, the passion that her (now) ex-husband has for their children. His heart is broken because of the judge's 'despicable sentence'. Then the characters begin, as they always did, with banter and bickering. All because they both have so much care and concern for how much this has and will effect their children; the common bond that they will always have. But, with her face in her hands, Miranda then exclaims, 'I don't want to do this anymore...' and begins to try to make sense of it all and explains the only thing that makes sense to her is a fictional character's presence that brought happiness. Both standing in the living room of Mrs. Doubtfire's home, we become keenly aware that this woman brought peace to an otherwise very, very difficult experience; she brought out the best in their children, the best in Daniel, the best in Miranda. Though a fictional character, in the lives of these people in this film, and for us, the audience, Mrs. Doubtfire is The Gift of Peace in an otherwise very convoluted and difficult circumstance. Though the valley of pain was horrific, Miranda discovers that the beauty of this character was not fictional at all...but was standing right in front of her, in the image of her now ex-husband. In purest confession, she understands that Mrs. Doubtfire was not a fictional character at all, but an aspect of her ex-husband that her children need. And we are left, not with a 'happily every after' ending, but with an ending of Peace. Peace in a surprising way as, in many other circumstances, divorce does not end peacefully and often has a very long, drawn-out difficult road that in some circumstances, never really heals; the parties are left to live with scars that will never completely heal. Yet, if they were to find the Gift of Peace, whatever and how ever that can be discovered, it truly gives great healing and promise to the characters' futures. This Gift of Peace that I am referring to in Mrs. Doubtfire is the personification of Forgiveness.

So...what is left to say? We all know how to forgive as we all know how to hold a grudge. One continues the journey of peace in our lives while the other continues the downward spiral of hurt, pain and more confusion. I, for one, know all too well the way pain and unforgiveness can truly taint a future that is could very well be filled with hope, new opportunities and new relationships. But these simply cannot occur, in their purest forms, nor can we accept and be truly thankful for them unless we seek out our own Gift of Peace.

I am truly thankful for this movie and have begun to see new roads in my own life that are beginning to be brighter and brighter, all because I have sought out Peace and Forgiveness instead of judgment, holding a grudge and further acts of pain inflicted on the other. This Gift of Peace has changed my life. Forgiveness is the only balm that can cover and heal.


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