Help from The Help

11:11 AMHeather

If you know me, you know I loved The Help -- both the book and the movie.  Before I go any further in my raving about The Help, let me give a spoiler alert.  If you have NOT read the book OR seen the movie--which I cannot fathom--then you might not want to read on.  Because today I will be diving into a key element of the plot.

Let me preface today's post by saying that I hate two things about the ending of both a book or a movie:  (1.)  when the ending is predictable--BORING and (2.) when I am left to wonder what happens to the main charactersThat being said, I loved the ending of The Help, although the movie leaves out the key fact that Aibileen Clark ends up writing Skeeter's column after she is let go by Elizabeth Leeforts.  The movie bought tears to my eyes as that last scene plays out with Mae Mobley crying and screaming for poor Aibileen as she is forced to leave.  HEART WRENCHING.  For me, that was one of the most powerful scenes and I loved how it brought to life the agony of that separation and goodbye.

And, it got me thinking.  Dangerous, I know.  I grieved for Mae Mobley because she was losing that voice of truth.  That life giving person in her life who told her, "You is kind. You is smart.  You is important."  That person who built her up, as we are instructed to do for each other in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 [Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.] Aibileen's role in Mae Mobley's life went way beyond caring for her basic needs.  She went the extra mile to speak kindness and worth and value to that little girl.  And, poor Mae Mobley, conflicted between a mother who tore her down and ignored her worth, and a caregiver whose value was never noted but who went out of her way to speak of Mae Mobley's value.  Let's not forget Elizabeth Leefort, whose priorities were so misguided that she never realized the treasure of her children before her.  Or how about that Hilly Holbrook who was so warped by her own selfish ambition that she caused destruction all around her, like some evil puppeteer?

Yesterday I was thinking again about that sad little ending of the movie, and I realized something.  Who am I in that scene?  Am I Aibileen in the lives of those around me?  Am I the truth speaker, the encourager, the builder up of those whose lives I touch?  Do I let people know of their worth and character strengths?  Do I speak hope and assurance to my children, husband, friends, and family?  These thoughts are a continuation of my pastor's sermon last Sunday on speaking blessings into the lives of those around us.

Or, I am Mae Mobley-- conflicted between the deceit that tears down my worth and the value that others affirm in me?  Do I struggle to embrace my God given strengths because I am continually distracted by words that tear me down? 

How about Elizabeth Leefort?  Do I lack a backbone as well as an appreciation for the treasures in my life?  Am I bullied by the culture and the influence of others, succumbing to their allure and ignoring the things that really matter?  Are my priorities out of whack?  Do I care more for the fleeting things than I do the eternal?  Do I neglect that which really matters?

And finally, Lord help me, am I Hilly Holbrook?  Am I so wrapped up and warped by my own needs and desires that I continually try to manipulate others and circumstances, taking the reins all too often to try to play God?  

What of my relationships with others?  Who do I allow to influence me?  Have I neglected to set perimeters and boundaries with the Hilly Holbrooks around me?  Have I sent the Aibileen Clarks packing instead of realizing how very affirming and edifying they are?   Where do I invest myself?  To whose voice am I listening?

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Upon reflection, what do you think about the help we can glean from The Help?   Which character best summarizes you?  And which characters do you see in your sphere of influence?   May we ever seek to be the Aibileen Clark to those we know--may we go out of our way to tell them, "You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important."  

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