being sans-children this week has afforded us the opportunity not only to get lots of things done, but also to relax differently than normal. for example, we went to a movie yesterday, a very rare experience for us. we went and saw the twilight saga: eclipse, and, even though i know that i may be losing significant credibility among many of you, i have to admit that i loved it.
there, i said it. i'm a twilight fan. when it comes right down to it, i'm a fan of stories, particularly when they involve love and tension and conflict and hope, and especially redemption. and the twilight stories, whether they are a modern form of pulp fiction or not, have all that, and i love them. i have read them all, and haven't really enjoyed the film versions all that much until yesterday.
eclipse was great. it was so much better than the previous two: better directing, better effects, better costuming, better hair and make-up, better adaptation, better acting, better everything. so i really enjoyed it. and not just on an eye-candy level, either. i thought the film did an excellent job portraying one of the main conflicts/tensions in the book, the love triangle between bella, edward, and jacob. i remember it being painfully awkward at times in the book, and the film really captured that well, i thought. and as i watched it unfold on the screen before me, i found it to be an interesting metaphor for our spiritual love lives.
you see, bella is torn between her two loves, edward and jacob. neither is exactly a "safe" option (and is love really ever safe? love implies risk, in my opinion), and she explains late in the film that the two loves represent the difference between who she is and who she should be. this really reminded me of the apostle paul's struggle with the two natures he often talked about. at one point in romans 7 he talks bluntly about how he does what he doesn't want to do, and doesn't do what he wants to do! he is torn.
through the story, bella tries to maintain a delicate balance between both of these significant relationships, and it really reminds me of us (of me) - we try to walk a balance beam between a relationship with God and with our sinful nature. in other words, we try to do the right thing while maintaining a connection to what paul calls "our sinful nature." we want to keep on overeating or being angry or neglecting a relationship or taking a drug or watching porn or feeding our greedy consumerism, and still maintain a good relationship with God. we want both. we try to "serve two masters," which is really ironic because that is exactly the phrase Jesus uses when he tried to tell his followers that this kind of love triangle just won't work out (matthew 6:24). ultimately, we choose one or the other. not choosing is, by definition, a choice in itself.
and so we are all like bella, torn between right and wrong, (or more often) between good and best, between what is right and what feels good, between the easier way and the way we should take. and most of us work pretty hard to try and find a variety of creative ways to serve two masters, but in the end, we have to make a choice, or more likely a series of choices, which by the outline of their trajectory will mark the journey of our lives, towards self or towards life. it cannot be both.