Call me a late Lucy if you will, but this evening was my first viewing of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. After all the question of whether this movie was anti-Jewish, I wasn't sure what I expected to see. I will say that the movie moved me to tears. I was horrified as I witnessed Jesus' graphic suffering. Truth be told, it didn't matter so much that the perpetrators were Jewish, Roman, Tahitian, or Klingon. In my eyes, there was no indictment or condemnation of one particular people. I could see the same behavior played out in a thousand different settings. What moved me was the strength of Jesus' love in the face of barbarity.
Throughout the film, I found myself looking more and more upon my beliefs, my faith. Through betrayal, brutality, denial, hatred, and abuse, Jesus did not waver in his faith. This faith was depicted quite simply: share love with everyone, including your enemies, and you will reap great rewards. In watching him, I felt driven to let more love flow from me, that I may feel more love in return. Such a simple concept that becomes so muddied in the situational ethics of our current world.
Can I love my enemies? Could I pray for the people who nailed me to a cross? Is it possible for me to be so beneficent and selfless? Most likely, the answer is no. Yet in watching the movie, I felt a pull to do better, to be better. I have let so much of my essence get away from me during the difficult year that just passed. I have wallowed in sadness and self-pity. I've gone through the motions in my work. Let's face it. I've been adrift.
But new years are ripe for fresh starts. I want to find a better Liana in 2005. No, I don't anticipate that I will achieve Christ-like serenity and sacrifice. But I do feel the intense need to be better than I have been. Whatever that means.