The Joker

So I realize that I am ridiculously behind the pop culture curve on this one, but last night I finally saw The Dark Knight for the first time. It was one that at first I was putting off because I wasn’t really familiar with the Batman plot, and Batman Begins freaked me out. By the time I finally saw the first movie though, pretty much everyone had seen The Dark Knight already, it seemed. So, last night was my first time!

First of all just to start this out, I definitely agreed with the hype surrounding Heath Ledger’s acting. I thought he was phenomenal. The one thought that I could not get out of my head while watching this movie though, even more than thoughts about Ledger’s early death in real life, was about the Joker’s back story.

I don’t know if his stories in the movie were actually supposed to be true, or if they were false memories being spewed out from a deranged mind in order to intimidate victims, but the message about human nature was still clear. Essentially if you have not seen the movie, he talks about how he got the scars either from his father, who put a knife in his mouth, or that they were self-inflicted to make his wife feel better, which failed miserably. People who are true fans of the comics or movies are probably mad at me right now, but really his particular details are not my point.

My point is that the acting gave an extreme and yet, at the same time, honest portrayal of the importance of love, and how the idea that we may not have it can drive us insane. I am generalizing here, but think of how often we do the following:

-Chasing after people in romantic relationships who do not show us respect or actually pursue us.

-Post praise reports, attractive pictures, and so forth on social media so that others will affirm our decisions by paying us compliments, “likes”, retweets, or comments.

-On that note, have you ever deleted a status or picture because people were not responding to it, and you began to doubt your opinion etc? Suddenly, you think something along the lines of “Huh, maybe that was only funny to me…Awkward.” Because, I admittedly know I have.

-Refused help from someone else even though it would make it more enjoyable and efficient because you wanted all the praise for yourself?

We as humans are naturally selfish, but a great deal of this comes from our innate desire to feel love. When we are filled with love, we feel satisfied. The rest of the world looks better, things that would normally come across as mundane or average seem exciting, and the negative events do not get under our skin as easily. When we question how another person we care about feels about us, however, things get…well, messy.

Maybe we react by getting very defensive or snippy about things the other person does, even when they do not have ill intentions. Maybe we become clingy, waiting by the phone, our day considerably brightened when they call or text, but completely gray when they don’t. The list can go on and on.

In the case of the Joker though, it made me think about what happens to people who genuinely do not ever feel what unconditional love is like. It literally, physically made my heart ache.

This is part of the reason, actually, why I behave in some of the ways I do with Grace (the baby girl I nanny for). Now please do not misunderstand me, she receives COMPLETE unconditional love from many people, above all her parents 🙂 and this is in now way to toot my own horn. But when she is with me during the day alone, I also want to make sure that she feels secure in my love for her. These aren’t necessarily conscious, cause and effect decisions I have made, but have just come very naturally. I have truly seen though how constant affection and touch have turned her into the happiest babies I have ever encountered.

It is a running joke in my family that when I was born, my Grandaddy joked with my dad that I was going to grow up bald because he was going to kiss all my hair off. I absolutely think that attitudes and habits like that when I was growing up impacted the way I (try to) relate with others.

This has caused me to literally hug and kiss Gracie all day long. It actually gets quite comical now that she has developed a real personality of her own. She typically has two reactions when I kiss her cheek or the top of her head non-stop: 1. laugh or giggle and squirm away while giving a hug at the same time or, 2. stare at me with this blank expression that clearly says “Ok, Ms. Susan. I get it. I’m cute. Now can you please let me down so I can take all the books off of the library shelves now?”

My connecting theme in all of these thoughts is that I am so, so thankful that I will never be without unconditional love, because I am loved by God.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved usand sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us,we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:9-11

Praise God for this sacrifice. The only way I am able to even begin love others is because I was loved first, and pray desperately for those who are still trying to seek it and come out empty-handed.

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