That said, the documentaries I've been watching were made not for the purpose of entertaining us from our cozy couches or beds. Rather, they were filmed with purpose of transporting us out of our comfortable realities and into the lives and hearts of people around the world who are in the midst of terrors, tragedies and war.
I was indeed transported last night while I cried my way through Beyond Belief. Here's the synopsis of the movie found on Principle Picture's website:
"Susan Retik and Patti Quigley are two ordinary moms living their American Dream until both husbands are killed by terrorists. Rather than turning inwards, grief compels them to travel to Afghanistan and help empower Afghan widows whose lives have been ravaged by decades of war, poverty and oppression – factors they consider to be root causes of terrorism.
As Susan and Patti make the courageous journey from their comfortable suburban neighborhoods to the most desperate Afghan villages, they discover a powerful bond with each other, an unlikely kinship with widows halfway around the world, and a profound way to move beyond tragedy.
Premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Available now on Netflix. Coming soon to the Sundance Channel. Click here to visit the official "Beyond Belief" website."
The above photo was taken of Susan while she was in Afghanistan listening to other widows share their grief. As she sat in their tiny one room home crying with them, they asked her about her life in America. The Afghan widows shared their surprise that women in the United States actually suffered from the same pain because "life is so good in America." They were under the assumption that because we live a life of plenty, that we are above grief and suffering. It was incredibly moving to watch two seemingly different worlds come together and find common ground.
It was an experience that resonated within my own heart because of a similar experience I had when I was in Tianjin, China. Our guide, Maria, and myself became surprisingly close and shared deeply from our hearts. While on the outside we looked very different and lived very diverse lifestyles, we both understood each other's hearts which allowed us to bonded very deeply.
The same was true for Susan and Patti. While they may have expected to be very different from the widows of Afghan, the walls of misconceptions quickly fell away and a beautiful bridge was built in its place.
I was inspired by their desire to reach outside of themselves. Not only did they seek to learn about the suffering of the widows in Afghan, they also worked hard to financially and emotionally assist the women in providing for their children. While they had the option to simply send money from the safety and comfort of their homes, they chose instead to take face their fears. They risked their emotional and physical well-being in order to experience life firsthand in the very country where their husbands' murderers were trained.
There is much more I could share, however, I hope that you will be inspired to cry through this movie, just as I did. :-) There is always so much that we can learn through other people's unique experiences, if not simply developing a heart of true compassion.
The film ended with a gentleman reflection upon the courage of Susan and Patti. While I am unsure of where their faith lies, without a doubt both of their choices reflect the command that Jesus gave us to love our enemies. Through their actions, they chose life over death and love over hatred.
Not one of us is immune to pain and suffering. We have all been hurt by other's actions again us. We are all left to make a very difficult choice. The first option is to hold on to bitterness, rage and pain. The second option is to deny our flesh and choose to do something which may seem quite impossible. We are called to not only forgive those who hurt us, but to also love and bless them. If that choice is before you today, which do you choose?
May God give you His grace to make the less popular and incredibly difficult choice, for it is in choosing life and love that allows us to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!