Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Gospel According to John Hughes

First of all, it's late. I couldn't sleep, so I'm up watching Pretty in Pink. And, yes, this viewing was inspired by an episode of Gilmore Girls. It's just one pop culture reference after another here, folks.

If you've never seen Pretty in Pink, the basic idea is that a girl from the poor side of town falls in love with a guy from the rich side of town, and their respective sides do whatever they can to pull them apart. Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer. Written by John Hughes. Classic.

What strikes me is how aware the kids are that someone is richer or poorer than they are. I don't recall thinking about that when I was growing up. From what I can recall, the town I grew up in didn't really have a rich side or a poor side—it was all kind of the same. Most everyone lived in a similarly sized bungalow. Everyone was about in the middle or just below. That's my perception now, anyway. But, again, I never really thought about it back then. Just assumed everyone was about the same.

I find this is true in other areas. Age is one of them. I assume everyone I hang out with is just about my age. Unless they're noticeably older or younger (and I mean it has to be really noticeable), everyone is probably 31, just like me, or not far from it. And when it comes to money, you really can't tell how much money someone has these days. They could live in a giant house and be way over their head in debt, or they could be living conservatively and be sitting on a goldmine. What good does it do me to try to figure that out, anyway?

Is it that I don't care? Or is it that I'm oblivious? Granted, I'm not always the most perceptive person in the world. I don't notice the obvious sometimes. But, honestly, I think I'm just not looking.

This can be both a blessing and a curse. I've avoided feeling a lot of prejudices that other people might feel just because I'm not actively looking for differences between myself and other people. However, I may miss some things I should be noticing—things that would afford me opportunities to show compassion or kindness.

The one area I do notice—and wish I didn't—is the area of accomplishments. Things people have done in their lives. I mean, I think I have a pretty nice life, but should I have more done by now? I've never really been a career gal. It's not like there's some benchmark I set years ago that I haven't reached. What's funny is the effect celebrities can have on me. When I find out a celebrity is my age, that really surprises me. I think, "They're my age and look at all they've accomplished! I should have done more!"

Really? Britney Spears is two years younger than me. She's accomplished a lot, but—really? Is that what I'd want for myself? All that drama? No, thanks.

Hebrews 12:1 says that I'm supposed to throw off the sin that holds me back and run the race that was set for me. For me. Not for anyone else. I think comparison can certainly be a sin if it leads to envy and greed. I need to set my eyes on God and compare myself to the standards he's set, not any other standards.

Easier said than done. But it's my job to try. That's the real benchmark I need to set for myself: How am I living up to God's expectations? I can't worry about what anyone else is doing. Everyone's calling is different, and everyone's spiritual walk is different. But am I running my race or just looking at everyone else's? How am I responding to God and the calling he's put on my heart? What would I accomplish if I wasn't so busy gawking at what everyone else has accomplished?

Thank you, Pretty in Pink, for raising these deep philosophical questions.

(But, really, Andrew McCarthy's hair at the prom is awful. That's always bugged me. I want to go back to 1986 and give him a comb. Just sayin'.)


  1. I do that, too, even with people "in real life," and not just celebrities. I look at people younger than me (which feels like most people these days!) and think, "Wow! They're only 31 and have three kids and nice house and blah blah blah."

    It's hard to not compare myself, especially when it's accompanied by thoughts of, "What if God wanted more for me and I blew it?"

    I've never seen Pretty in Pink...but I love Andrew McCarthy!

  2. I think it's a blessing not to notice the differences.

    I'm usually okay with it all, unless I really think about it and then I look at one of dh's friends who is several years younger and he and his wife go on all these trips and have a beautiful house and I think wow....wish I could have that.


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