Updated: Oct 2
I love Romantic Comedies. They are great coping tools. Many of them probably seem too predictable to some, but I love the idea that love always prevails. The movie “The Proposal” is an excellent example. Sandra Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a cold all-about-the-business Canadian born editor with a visa that is about to expire. While Ryan Reynolds plays her Alaskan native, born-into-a- wealthy family, executive assistant, Andrew Paxton.
Cut to the middle of the movie where Margaret rushes toward the boat where Andrew awaits her return from shopping, gets in and starts to speed off. Andrew does not know what’s going on as Margaret mumbles and frantically drives the boat. Andrew finally retrieves the steering wheel, and she goes to sit down at the rear of the boat with this dazed expression. Andrew tries to make sense of what is going on when he suddenly notices that they are about to collide with a buoy. He’s forced to make an abrupt turn to avoid an accident and Margaret is hurled from the boat into the icy cold waters where she struggles because she cannot swim.
Whew! You really must see the movie.
The thing that drove Margaret to her speedy departure were old feelings that were triggered by the love and nurturing she experienced with Andrew’s family. Margaret was a self-made woman who recreated herself starting at the age of 16 after being abandoned by her own family. She built walls around her heart to protect herself. She learned to depend on only herself. When thoughts of family and love were triggered, she started to experience emotions that were safely locked away for years. It became overwhelming. Those once impenetrable walls that were built to guard her heart were weakening. New thoughts of being loved and cared for started to break them down. The time had come for her to let go of the old to give way to the new.
Even as she dog paddled her way to cling to the buoy in fear of losing her life, the importance of letting go continued to echo throughout this scene. Margaret had to let go of the buoy if she wanted to be rescued and eventually live. But she was afraid. Andrew instructed her to grab his hand and her first response was “no.” At one point, she tried to reach for Andrew and hold the buoy at the same time, but that wouldn’t work either. Margaret was placed in a position where she had to trust another for her safety. She had to decide to finally let go. And so, she did, and it changed the trajectory of her life. Of course, she won the guy, and the insinuation is that they lived happily ever after, still the importance of letting go are clear.
The thought of letting go of things that once protected us can be scary. We feel exposed and vulnerable. But the alternative, being stuck, can be scarier. As 2020 ends and we reflect over all its eventfulness, I have learned that change is inevitable, life happens, and both are working more for us than against us. The walls we built served a purpose. They protected us, but they were only meant to do so for a season of rest and restoration. We, like Margaret, need time to heal. Eventually, we’ll be faced with the decision to continue life with walls around our heart and emotions or move through fear into the fresh experiences life has to offer. Go Ahead…tear down them walls. Boundaries are better.