I was sitting on my bed, trying to figure out which of my pieces to submit for this first published column. I put in a movie and started to look through the possibilities, but within the first 10 minutes of the movie, I put the computer away as the movie plot consumed me.
If you have not seen "The Life Beyond the Pines," you need to! I am going to try not to give away any of the plot, but the movie addresses one of the biggest and most destructive problems in our world today. The movie ends with the solution to that problem.
In the movie, people bring harm and pain to each other, in a chain reaction fashion: Because person A hurts person B, person B had to hurt person C, etc. Everyone reacts to the harm done to them, and the whole movie is spent with characters trying to right the wrongs done to them, which ultimately becomes revenge. We see across generations how revenge and hatred spill over, only causing more pain.
Maybe you have seen this among your own friends or families. Here are some examples:
Maybe there is one family member or group your family does not speak with because of some wrong done in the past.
Maybe there is that one classmate or co-worker who just disgusts you every time you see them because you instantly associate that person with something he or she did to you.
Maybe you have that family member you refuse to ever see or even just avoid at family gatherings because of something that happened years ago.
Maybe you do not associate with a certain person or family member for reasons you do not even know! You dislike them because your family or friends do.
Do not get me wrong, I know some people have probably hurt you beyond what I can understand, but aren’t you tired of carrying that grudge with you? Wouldn’t it be great to free yourself and the other person from that burden?
Pain, vengeance and hatred grow if they are not dealt with, and "The Place Beyond the Pines" shows how that works without us even realizing it.
However, while you could watch the movie, or live your life, by holding onto all of the terrible things that happen, you could also choose to be different: to step out of the pain and the hurt and let the grudges go.
The movie ends with a 17-year-old boy discovering this solution: forgiveness.
You cannot fix what others have done to you, and you cannot change how your friends or family react, but a change for the better can start with you.