Yesterday I watched the chick-flick DVD Eat, Pray, Love.
It was an enjoyable couple of hours watching the story of a woman’s search to find balance in her life. The scenes in Italy, India and Bali made the movie lush and captivating and the woman’s spiritual quest seemed admirable, on the surface.
As a Christian, I felt that she was searching for God in all the wrong places, of course. But something else bothered me about this film.
The story begins with the woman in an unsatisfactory marriage. No drama. The husband doesn’t abuse her and there are no other parties involved. She is just vaguely disappointed in her husband and not enjoying her (obviously affluent) life. This dissatisfaction leads her to turn, desperately and uncharacteristically, to prayer. She falls to her knees with hands pressed together and utters, “Hello God. It’s nice to finally meet you”, then proceeds to beg for help from her unbearable situation. She feels that God’s answer is to tell her to divorce her husband.
Almost immediately she becomes involved with a younger man. It is through this chance relationship that she is introduced to Hinduism and begins her spiritual journey.
She meets interesting people and learns a few things about herself and ultimately finds true love.
Along the way she is prompted to a few isolated generous acts, but the main focus of her life never deviates from her search for personal happiness.
She learns to eat for pleasure from the Italians, meditate for peace of mind from her time in India, and love herself from her friends in Bali. All this self-examination results in her finding the perfect partner and happiness (fade out).
I couldn’t help thinking as the credits rolled that her new lover had better not ever disappoint this lady…because it’s all about her.
Being focused on one’s own happiness is a sure recipe for dissatisfaction in life.
A life of real balance begins with love of God and others, prayer to stay close to God and intercede for others, and eating, that represents all the pleasures of the flesh, following after.
That is balance that brings peace and you can find it anywhere.