Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Giver: The Importance of Life


I first watched The Giver back in August.  I was all alone in bed at 12:30, and I was an emotional mess because that movie rang with so much truth.

I watched it again on my Birthday, January 12th, and the whole message about the importance of life and the raw beauty of it touched me just as deeply the second time. With the March for Life taking place this month, I decided to do a post on the Giver and how it shows us that all life, not matter how big or how small, how flawless or how damaged, is important and valuable. All life is precious.

For those of you that don't know, The Giver is a dystopian story about a society that has rebuilt itself after some global catastrophe. They've built a world of happiness and contentment where everyone is equal. There is no war or suffering, no hate, no anger. In fact this world seems downright perfect.

However, as the story goes on the perfection of this painless world is called into question. In this society, each man and woman is placed into a specific line of work after graduation which they will pursue until they retire to Elsewhere. The main Character, Jonas, is placed into a critical position: He is the receiver of memory. Even in a world where emotions are held in check and the history of our world is no longer passed down, the 'Elders' (AKA Governors) sometimes need to consult past mistakes to better plan for future laws, decisions, and problems. This means that there has to be someone who does remember the past, who does know what the world was like before everything changed. This person is The Giver. From the time our New World began there has been a Giver, one person in the hundreds who knows the truth of our past and heeds it. The Elders need this Giver, but is a delicate job as the memories and knowledge cannot be shared with anyone else for fear of causing a rebellion. People would get curious about the past, about their feelings, and eventually they'd want that back. The Giver holds the memories for the Elders, and passes them to the Receiver when his time is over - in this instance, Jonas.

But Jonas is not your average Receiver and as he learns about the past, about the emotions humans you to have, and the beautiful diversity of our lives, he realizes that a perfect society is not worth what we had to sacrifice for it.


What I loved most about this movie was the amazing Pro-Life message. Not just with children either, though I will get to that in this post. The whole movie was a message about why life is worth living, even if there is pain and strife and horror. Everyone deserves to experience the wonder of life. Whether they be young or old, weak or strong, deformed or beautiful, crippled or fit, slow or excelling, handicapped or ingenious - everyone deserves to live, and life isn't something you should take from anyone.  It had a beautiful message about how sadness and cruelty is worth the experience of joy and goodness. Knowing love is worth Enduring the hate that is bound to follow.  Happiness is worth the suffering. Where there is good there will always be bad, but that doesn't make the good any less wonderful or brilliant.

This is a very applicable message and story for us today. In our society, life is treated badly. The elderly aren't cared for properly. Children are carefully scheduled into a couple's happy marriage so that they don't have too many and aren't inconvenienced - that is, if they have any at all. Often babies are killed before they see life outside the womb. The Giver brought each of these problems to light, and many more.



In The Giver's world, individuality is gone. No one is allowed to be different from anyone else. There is no "she's smarter than me," or, "He's better at that than I am." No one is higher or lower than anyone else. Everyone is the same. Everyone has the same comforts, the same rules, the same teachings. Nothing is ever surprising, or hurtful. There are no fights. No passions. No private dreams or goals that might conflict with another's. Everyone has their path chosen and assigned to them from the government. There is no freedom of choice. You do what you're told, you obey the rules, and everyone is happy.

Our Society isn't as bad as The Giver's - at least not yet. But I can't help seeing some frightening parallels. For starters, "Precision of language." How many of us are really allowed to say what we want without some bad repercussions? You must be very careful to never hurt anyone's feelings by saying something too deep or too honest. In a way we do have to monitor our words.  Just think of how hard it is to say "God" or "Jesus Christ," in public. Or how about, "I believe in marriage between a man and a woman," or "I don't agree with this person(s) opinion, because my belief is such-and-such," or, "I think men are better at such-and-such a thing than women are."  And we do have to apologize for saying or doing anything even remotely hurtful or irritating to someone else. Heaven forbid you make somebody feel bad or *gasp* maybe think a little; about who they are, about what they do.

How about emotions? How often can we really express our interest/beliefs/feelings? Everything is very surface. We carefully walk on eggshells around our fellow humans to keep from upsetting anyone, or causing a problem. Society is teaching children some very strange things about feelings. Don't get angry if someone disagrees with you - that's there opinion. If someone is bothering you, maybe try to confront them with words and if that doesn't work, just walk away. If you're feelings are hurt, talk about it. You have a right to feel hurt. Experience it, express it. Have a hug. Go off alone and sit until you feel better.  It's all about you feeling like you are comfortable enough to go on. Face your feelings and figure out a way to get back to a calm balance. Does anyone else see a disturbing connection here? Let your feelings out and then forget about them. Don't dwell on feelings because then you can't be in a comfortable place.

Uhm. Life doesn't work that way. You are going to get hurt. You are going to grieve. You are going to be heartbroken. And that pain will last, sometimes a really long time. That is part of life and that is part of your development as a person. If you never have to struggle or fight, or face some hurt, you will never learn how strong, brave or resilient you are. And that's sad! Children don't need to be coddled, to identify their feelings, talk them over, and quickly drop them because really, It's Okay. Children need to understand that feelings grow out of emotions, and emotions are a good thing. Should you be in control of them? Absolutely; they're dangerous. But they are also necessary if you want to be a person of any character and depth at all.

Feelings are fleeting. They’re on the surface. But emotions, are deeper. They linger. - The Giver


Feelings are petty and altogether too much importance is placed on them. A feeling doesn't last long. You need to know that having your feelings hurt happens and to tough it up. How are you going anyone in life if you are so fragile that someone saying, No, you're wrong, or the like, is going to shatter your tiny comfort globe? That is a silly way to live. In the long run, feelings are fleeting and don't last long, they are just a natural instinct which stem from something much stronger. Emotions. However, emotions are almost disregarded, and beliefs and passions are looked upon with a most tolerant, almost mocking view.



This is what I loved about the Giver. How it looked at the facts of our world and brought them to light in all their honest fact. The pressure for children to behave just so. The pressure for adults to raise their children just so. The old being relatively useless. The young carefully modeled into perfect citizens. The rebels found and quickly silenced. Beliefs being okay so long as they aren't voiced too loudly or for too long; keep your opinions to yourself, thank you, and don't violate anyone else. It's an idea world where no one is allowed to quarrel or disagree. But that also means no one is allowed to form deep, emotional ideas, or have deep, emotional relationships because that's way too dangerous. Don't share unique ideas! That leads to conflict which leads to pain! Don't hold hands! Holding hands leads to caring, caring leads to hurt, hurt leads to anger, anger leads to violence... on and on.



The Community in The Giver acts as though it cares about each individual but really it only cares about the whole. The Community acts as though it cares about your ideas, thoughts or concerns, but really it doesn't. Your own feelings don't matter, you must believe and follow the ideals of the Community. They act as though they want everyone to be happy and live in comfort, but they force that false happiness and comfort upon you, so you have no choice but to live in blissful carelessness. The Community acts as though life has value, but they don't practice that. They kill off anyone too weak or inconvenient - Oh, excuse me. They send them to Elsewhere. *squints* Nothing must be violent or appalling, so even death is given a new name and painted as some type of reward, a peaceful retirement. No one mentions the ending of a life. That is too brutal. We simply no longer need this individual so we will quietly dispose of them. Sound familiar?



The Community can choose to get rid of whomever they want, whenever they want to. The old, the young, the innocent, the infants. There is absolutely no regard for the individuals life. Once there usefulness is over it is time to be rid of them. I liked how this movie showed that losing emotions and morality meant losing our respect for life. It rang with so much truth - especially when you think about the Pro-Choice activists in society today. Actually, one of my favorite things about this movie was the situation with the babies. How those infants the Community deemed "worthy" or "strong enough" got a chance at life, but those too weak or problematic got scratched off the list. It was painted as a Choice, a necessary action with no need for regret, but it wasn't necessary and it was horrible. Any baby they weren't sure they should keep was placed in "Uncertains," and if they decided that baby just didn't have the capacity to be in this world, injection, the baby was gone. Just like that. No tears, no mess. Just a dead baby, a box, and a trash can.

"That's death.[ ]He doesn't know what he's doing...? He killed him!" -Jonas.

It was all so familiar. It's what happens today, all over the world. Unwanted babies are treated like trash to be thrown out. Infants are murdered fresh from the womb. They're not even given a chance. There is a lot of talk about how life in the womb isn't life, but then why does "it" have a heartbeat? Why does "it" grow? Why does "It" suck his thumb? Roll over? Have brainwaves? At what point does this "it" decide to become a baby? Is a seed, planted and taking root, not alive because the flower hasn't grown up from it yet? Of course not! The seed will grow into a tree. The Infant will grow into an adult - if he is only given the time to do so. It is evil to destroy him before he even has the chance to break soil.

Jonas recognized the evil. He knew that the world no longer understood death, but he had the memories, he had the passions, the faith, the emotions. He did understand. And he was angry and hurt and confused. The baby was alive and then he was dead. For no reason! Didn't he matter? Didn't they care? I found myself relating to Jonas on a spiritual level. LIFE MATTERS. No matter what life it is, no matter how old, how young, how useful, how necessary, each life matters. Every life has the potential to be everything and anything in this messy world of ours. I loved that Jonas realized that and took control. He realized the last Receiver had been killed for not being able to complete her duties, that retirees were killed because they were no longer useful, that anyone deemed unworthy was sent to Elsewhere: AKA, murdered. But he only learned these truths when he saw the helpless, innocent baby killed without hesitation. That was when he realized what the Community really did. That was when he decided it was time for things to change. No amount of balanced comfort was worth the cold indifference mankind had acquired toward the value of life.

Once Jonas understood this, he understood two other things as well. He needed to bring back the memories, the right and the wrong, and he needed to save the baby, Gabriel, who was next in line for the injection. A baby his father had brought home from the hospital only a few days before in an attempt to make him strong enough to be able to 'live.' A baby who was now back at the hospital, awaiting death.



"He's my family."

I'm going to say right now, Jonas running in and saving an innocent infant from slaughter was without a doubt the best part of the movie. He broke all the rules, got himself marked as a criminal and hunted like an animal, all to save a baby. And when he took that life in his arms he ran. He ran to save life once and for all. He ran to save the value of life, to save the meaning of life. He ran to bring back the beauty of life, the wonder, the pain, the joy. He ran to save all life that the child in his arms represented. The lives of his friends, his family. The lives of the old and the young, the unique, the damaged, the different. The baby in his arms represented every life that had been lost because of empty cares and false comfort. That baby was the future. He was warm. He was beautiful. And he was alive. Not too weak. Not too problematic. Alive, breathing, and capable of so much more.

And in this way, a baby saved the world from an empty, cruel existence. It was the baby that gave Jonas the strength and courage to change the horror. To fix the emptiness. To bring back love. A baby brought back beauty and joy. A condemned baby, who should have been dead. A baby Society marked as inconvinient and uneeded. A baby that touched the Receivers heart and gave him the strength to go on when he was scared, cold and alone. It was the baby

Gabriel saved the world! He was a baby! And yet he saved the world!

It really makes you think, doesn't it?


"Gabe, there could be love."
- Jonas, The Giver



I will just leave this here; life matters. Even if you suffer, even if there is pain, every life is worth and every person deserves a chance at that life.



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*


Bella

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Blow Out the Candles: Make a Wish!



Yesterday was my birthday! Hey ho. Another Year older, another year newer.

God is so good. I said a prayer that I wouldn't have to work on my birthday, and you know what? I didn't have to work! The counts at the Daycare were down and they didn't need me. WOOT WOOT! You know what that means? It means I spent my morning listening to music, writing and generally enjoying myself. I also watched the Concert Edition of A Tale of Two Cities, because why the heck not? It's my freaking Birthday!

I don't know what anime this is from, but it was funny.

I had a lovely chicken meal for dinner, and my whole family came up over afterward with presents and a cake. I got lots of lovely tea, a sweater, a necklace, and a handy-dandy box to keep my things in so they aren't always scattered everywhere. I even got The Magnificent Seven! I almost watched that as my birthday movie but since there were people over that wouldn't have liked it so much, I watched The Giver instead. My three little sisters stayed the night, and I was up late just having fun.

All in all it was a good birthday, the best one I've had in a while.

Here is hoping that Nineteen will be a  new, fabulous year, better than the last have been. Here's hoping for lots of good memories, good days, good friends, and exciting new challenges and dreams. Here's hoping I'm a better blogger too! Here's Hoping!!!

TO MY NEW YEAR!



*Swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella

Saturday, January 7, 2017

So. 2017. *crazed laughter*


As all of you know, I am not a good blogger. I have good intentions but I really don't blog half so much as I ought to. Back in the Summer, I gave my blog a face lift and talked a little bit about being a dreamer and how I was going to make this blog a "safe place" for people like that. Then I promptly crashed, losing any sort of inspiration. Now that the New Year is hear, I am going to try and remember this mission. Part of the problem was that I really didn't know how to approach my new blog idea. However, I think I have an idea now, of what I'd like to do here.

I want to start posting once a week for starters. *More Crazed Laughter* I want to try and post something positive, optimistic, or fanciful about my week. I'd like to start talking a little more seriously about stories, writing, poetry, and the overall stunning glory of God's world, which is so easy to miss out on now-days. I want to post about beautiful things. With this mission in mind, my blog should be much more themed this year. Here's hoping!!!!!!!

As a Kick-Off for the New Year I am going to do the New Year's Tag.

1.) What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Erm. I went to Frontsight, I got a job. I started writing a musical. Oh! And I visited the ocean with my friend Jack and my younger sisters! 8-D

2.) Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make one this year?

I don't properly remember my New Year's resolutions. I don't think I had any for 2016. But I do have tentative resolutions for 2017. Mainly to focus on my writing and take some freaking music theory. (MAYBE ACT???)

3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?

Oh yes! My sister did! His name is Dominic. He's adorable.

4.) Did anyone close to you die?

No, Thank God.

5.) What countries/states did you visit?

I only went to Nevada. That was it and it's not that big of an achievement, seeing as I live fairly close to that state. Probably the biggest thing I did travelling-wise was going to the Ocean. That crap was beautiful, and it was tons of fun. Behold God's untempered magnificence!

6.) What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Moooooooooney! Lol. I guess I'd like an actual house to live in, not a flat. A cute little two-room cabin would be nice.

7.) What day in 2016 will remain forever etched in your memory?

November 7th. The last and best day I had at Frontsight. I hope I will never forget it.

8.) Did you move anywhere?

Well, I was briefly in Nevada but then I came back home and am now living with two of my sisters. Otherwise, no.

9.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I'd love to say 'I got my license!' but alas, that isn't true. So.... I placed into the third round in the contest at Frontsight. And I can actually shoot now, even though I need to practice on speed.

10.) What was your biggest failure?

Failing my driving test. Twice. Curse you parallel parking! I knew I could do it but my nerves were less sure. *blows smoke from ears.*

I was not this kid.


11.) Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nah. I'm all good.

12.) What was the best thing you bought?

I bought my very own copy of the Fullmetal Alchemist; Brotherhood series. Complete with OVA episodes.

13.) Whose behaviour Merited celebration?

My Mom is the ultimate superwoman. Honourable mentions would be Gavin from the library, my sister Mahri, and my brother.


14.) Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

A person whom I will not say the name of. Such a person made me very appalled and depressed. And angry too. *scowls at said person.*

15.) Where did most of your money go?

Toward books, Anime and Manga, and Reeses.. And I bought gifts for everyone at Christmas, which was very fun, by the way.

16.) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

FRONTSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! And of course, my visit to the ocean. I am so grateful that Jack let me come with her to that. Oh! And my brother's wedding, way back at the start of the year!

17.) What was the best concert you've been to this year?

I saw no concert. I did however, see a bootleg of Les Miserables and it was magnificent.



18.) What song/album will always remind you of 2016?

My 2016 song is probably Battle Scars by Paradise Fears. The album would be.... hmmm. Bring Me Giants, by James Barbour.

19.) Compared to this time last year are you:

Determined. Determined to live my life as best and as hopefully as I can, and to make the most of what is given to me. God's got this. I'm determined to be a good, if anxious soldier under His banner.

20.) What do you wish you'd done more of? 

I didn't do any acting at all last year. I'm homesick for the Theatre. I wish I'd done more writing too.

21.) What do you wish you'd done less of? 

I wish I had done less of nothing. I was stuck without a car or anywhere to go within walking distance for most of this year, which meant I did almost none of the things I wanted to do. Like act and Dance

22.) What's your greatest Musical discovery?

Bring Me Giants (James Barbour) Ghost the musical, and as much as I hate the plot and premise, I liked a lot of the songs and music from Bridges of Madison County*. Kelli O'hara has an amazing voice, and that whole album inspires me to write music of my own. It showed me how much music can inflict mood on a scene; from contemplating and hopeful, to excited and bedazzled.

*I don't recommend this musical for a number of reasons, number one being that its about an affair. I only listen to a few select songs from it.

23.) How did you spend your Christmas?

Rather like the others, I spent Christmas at Homebase with my family, good food, and some very great friends. My brother and sister-in-law also came up with their kids, which was wonderful.

24.) How did you/are you spending New Years?

This was a nice New Year. Usually I slog through until midnight, say a small "Happy New Year," and vanish to my room. This year, my family (+friends) completed a Three-Day Lord of the Rings Marathon on New Year's Eve. We were invited to Sammi B's house for the last movie and finished the RoTK just a few minutes before midnight. After an epic count down to midnight, we toasted in the New Year with poppers and horns, and the sound of bagpipes flooding from outside, as they always do.  We kicked 2016 into the past with much ghusto, called out HAPPY NEW YEAR! And went home. We're such party animals it's ridiculous. Our New Year's are pretty freaking lay-back.

I honestly thing there are few better ways to start the New Year than with an LOTR marathon. It stirs up your soul in a big way. Let this be the hour when we draw swords together! Fell deeds awake; Now for wrath! Now for ruin! And the red dawn! ..... RIDE NOW!

25.) Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerm. My sister Tiny and... Jack?

26.) What was the best book you read?

My favourite book of this year was probably The Penderwicks in Spring by Jean Birdsall. Yes, it was a painful book and yes, I cried a lot in it, but it helped me with some of my own struggles. I found a kindred spirit in Batty. She is dear. It also got me back into my clarinet and made me feel like maybe I could write music, so there is that.

Honourable mentions include; Castle in the Air: Diana Wynne Jones, Screaming Staircase; Bartimeus:  Jonathan Stroud. Heist Society: Ally Carter. Pandora Hearts (10): Jun Mochizuki.* Noragami (11-14): Adachitoka**

*Yes, it's a manga.

** Yes, another manga. Don't judge me.

27.) Did you fall in love in 2016?

What? No way! *thrashing anime noises*

No love life for this girl, yet. This is probably good. I don't think I'm ready for that.

28.) What was your favourite TV show?

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.



Honourable mentions include: Hunter x Hunter, Hawaii 5-0, Pandora Hearts, and Lethal Weapon.

29.) Do you have anyone you hate now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Not really. There are some people are strongly dislike. Some that have annoyed me or caused me distress.

For example, I strongly dislike a certain party of people more than normal. #NewAgePharisees



30.) What did you want and get?

I wanted Musical Notation notebooks and by golly, I got them!

31.) What did you want and not get?

Ghost; the musical.

32.) What were your favourite films of this year?

Doctor Strange and The Magnificent Seven.


Mister... - It's Doctor. - Mister Doctor? - It's Strange.

33.) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

Here is the thing. My birthday is in January, so sweet 18-year-old me has been around all year. That's a long time folks. What I'll do is briefly recall my last birthday and tell you the plan for my next one.

Well, I was sick with Broncitas for my 18th birthday. *

I work this birthday, but I plan to have a few of my siblings and Jack over for dinner. I think I'll watch either The Giver or .... Something epic. I am on a Lord of the Rings high, so I'll need to watch something emotional and grand. Maybe one of the Marvel movies, or Gladiator.  Or The Eagle.




34.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I was basically Vanellope from Wreck it, Ralph!


I'm adorable!


35.) What kept you sane? 

Prayer. Anime. The library. My sister Tiny.

36.) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I actually didn't have a celebrity figure that I especially fancied this year. I like Chris Pratt and Il Volo, but that's old news. So, no public figure has made much of an impression on me since 2015.

37.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Passing my driving test would have made my year much better. *headdesk*

38.) What political issue stirred you the most?

The freaking Elections man. Oh my gosh. I was in Pahrump learning about guns all day; then I went home that night and worried (and prayed) about our next presidential candidate.

39.) Who did you miss?

Sammi Bender </3. Also, my adorable little nieces.

40.) Who was the best new person you met?

I don't really meet people. I guess Gavin has only been around a year, so I'll count him. He's dear.

41.) Tell  us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.



-Noragami

Life is full of suffering and pain, but it is also full of joy and happiness. Everyone has their own crosses, their own burdens and trials that they must undergo, whether for the betterment of themselves, or the betterment of many, or both. I've known this for a while but it really hit me this year. Life is a walk in shadow, but that doesn't mean there isn't any light. And despite all the hardships life is actually worth living. To see a sunset, to feel wild wind, to witness the glory of a waterfall, to have good company and good meals, to enjoy stories and laughter, to experience love and friendship; all of these are good reasons to endure the bad days. The bad weeks. Even the bad years. And no matter how bad things get, one day all the suffering will end. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. Then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise. 

42.) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning, that's when I could finally breathe... And by morning gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean. - (Clean, Taylor Swift.)

Also, this incredibly relateable verse: On and on, like we're living on a broken record, hope is strong, but misery's a little quicker. Sit, and we wait, and we drown there, thinking, 'Why bother playing when it's unfair?' They say life's a waste, I say they lack belief. They tell me luck will travel, I tell 'em that's why I've got feet. Left, right, left, right,  moving along to the pulse of a heartbeat [....] Don't stop. March on. (Battle Scars, Paradise Fears.)


43.) Fiver personally significant events of 2016.

1.) My brother's wedding. We welcomed our new sister into the family with much merry making  and friendly company. Especially my sister Gina, her husband, and her kids. It was a good week.

2.) Visiting the Ocean in July with my best friend and some of my siblings.

3.) FRONTSIIIIIIIIIGHT. NOVEMBER 4-8th!!!

4.) February 16th, when my amazing brother treated the whole family to Disneyland.

5.) November 31st because, reasons.

44.) Five things I want to do in 2017.

1.) Take a music classes.

2.) Audition for a play or musical.

3.) Write at least the rough draft of a musical, and finish at least the first draft of my Cyril book.

4.) Spend more time with my sisters

5.) Pray hard, fight well, and live the life God gave me with fewer fears and more happiness.

45.) Five people I'd like to know better in 2017.



How was your 2016? Are you optimistic about 2017? Can you believe it's 2017??




*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella

Pile of good things

Pile of good things