July 27

Twist endings…movie buffs love them! Those knock you through a loop, never saw it coming, jump out of your seat, endings that are so original, so jaw dropping, so perfectly executed that when the movie is viewed- the word of mouth buzz surrounding the “twist” propels people into the theater to see what all the hype is about. 

If you’ll indulge me for a moment, without giving anything away–because who is more loathed by a film fanatic than the person who spoils a movie’s ending for another person…let me name of few and if you’ve seen them, you’ll recall instantly the twist I’m referring to, and if you haven’t, well then…fire up the Netflix and enjoy. Who saw the now infamous ending of The Sixth Sense coming a mile away? Or, The Usual Suspects (which I consider the “father” of modern twist endings!) The Others, The Departed, Shutter Island, Saw, Fight Club, Atonement, Murder on the Orient Express ( and shame on me for never having read the book before I saw the movie…a funny story, but for another time!) and the list can go on and on, but I promised I’d name only a few. 

People who love films might tell you things like “I saw it coming” or “ I figured it out” but to that I say no. Some of the most famous twist endings, the ones those of us who have seen them can call upon instantly, we never saw coming. It’s only when one goes back and watches again with a careful eye, that we see the clues left embedded for us by the filmmaker. Ah well, it’s the perfect description of that famous expression “ Hindsight is 20/20.” 

And, as we reach the end of July, with only five short months left until New Year’s, I’d say if 2020 were a movie, we’d be gearing up for a huge twist ending coming. What that twist will be, I cannot even venture a guess, for although I am pretty well versed in Film Studies, the “clues” laid out for us thus far this year are too difficult for me to interpret. Who do we trust? Who’s giving us the best advice? Masks needed? Masks unnecessary? Safe to dine indoors or not safe? A second wave is coming? No second wave will appear? COVID- 19 is as unpredictable as a first time director handed a script with an ending almost too challenging to put onscreen–it’s got all of us second guessing, changing our opinions each day, listening to different theories and trying to puzzle them out…and far from being an enjoyable experience for us, if you are anything like I am, your stomach gets into knots at any given moment.

Twist endings are fine when it’s a movie, when we remove ourselves from the action, watch from our perch on our couch or in theater and serve as the outside observer, commenting on what happens to those involved in the situation. It’s an entirely different scenario to be thrust into the action, the 4th wall removed and suddenly, we wait as breathlessly as a character onscreen waits, to see what the next pages of the script say. 

You and I, each one of us is not only the actor in our own 2020 story, but the director as well. Now, we’ve been handed a lot of last minute changes, a lot of hurdles and red herrings in our scripts this year. And yet, here we are, with 7 months of 2020 behind us and 5 to go. So, you may ask, how do we outsmart, outwit, out plan whatever twist ending 2020 has in store for us? Well, the answer, as it often is in this twist movies, is right in front of us only we don’t see it clearly.

To get through the hardships and shocks this year has held, we need to focus on all the good we have in our lives, take credit for all we’ve been able to achieve from March onward, and trust that as the “credits” roll we will have come out stronger, more resilient, and more empowered. How is this achievable? For that answer, I direct you to where I draw my inspiration daily…

The Gospel of Matthew – 17:20

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say this to the mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Only God knows how the 2020 twist will end and if we put our faith in Him, our vision will remain clear and certain enough to guide each of us through. Keep the faith!

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