There were plenty of times when I was bored with the movie, to tell you the truth, but I will venture to say that it touched me emotionally more than any other movie that I have ever watched (which is quite a statement, I know!). The reason is that we have a man named Lars who (like me) is a shy, socially awkward, rather eccentric loner. And we have his community, which accepts him. Is the real world like this? Not everywhere, or even most places, I will say that! But there are some places that accept people who are rather socially-awkward and different. In my post here, I quoted blogger David Nilsen, who talked about a church that he visited:
“My favorite image from this journey has been from a Church of the Brethren we’re considering. It’s a boring, uncool church, but comfortable being what it is. They sing hymns accompanied by a piano, and no one leads the singing, and they sound shrill and awkward and I kind of love them for it. One week a partially blind old woman was sitting near the middle of the sanctuary. She was wearing a hideous pink dress she was clearly proud of. In the middle of a hymn she pulled out a flute and began playing along as loudly as she could. No one was phased. They kept right on singing around her. I get the feeling this happens somewhat regularly, and the fact that no one has suggested she leave her flute at home tells me a great deal about the hearts of these people.”
I’ve encountered churches that are quite accepting of people with various quirks, treating them as part of the family. Lars’ church in the movie was like that.
The thing about this movie is, it doesn’t just make me wish that others could be more accepting of people with quirks. It actually made me want to be more accepting and loving towards others, myself. Watching that movie was like attending a church service where I felt particularly inspired, and I walked out the door happy and loving. That feeling is not easy to sustain, but thinking about the community’s acceptance of Lars in that movie is, for me, a foretaste of what heaven will be like.