Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

I’ve been hearing for weeks about a must-see movie called, “The Lovely Bones”.  I remember seeing a preview for it and immediately thinking that this would be something I would have to check out for myself.  The story line is pretty dark, the murder of a child, but the entire story is told through her eyes, in her 14-year-old narrative voice.  I found that to be a very interesting concept. 

Then, as you will hear about many movies, I was told that the book is much better.  Lucky for me my dear friend Kelli, whose library always seems to consist of a section of “Top Ten MUST Reads”, just happened to have this very book on her shelf.  I saw it one afternoon and asked if she would mind if I read it.  Kelli is also my friend who introduced me to “The Shack”- an amazing book with a twist on God like you’ve never quite imagined.  Both of these books are based upon horrific events which happen to young children and strive to shine light and beauty on these unimaginable tragedies. 

After ripping through this book in a matter of days, I noticed many similarities between the two books.  Both discuss an incident that as a parent is difficult to even wrap your mind around.  Both take their readers on a journey into a Heaven-like realm and describe it in ways you may have never thought.  I’ve often times thought I hope “The Shack” is made into a movie (and I hear that it is) because I just want to see on the big screen if they can even remotely compare to the beautiful and fantastical images your mind paints as you read it.

While I may not agree 100% with the author’s interpretation of Heaven, how we get there, and what it will be like, I do appreciate that these books forced my brain to conjure up images of what will undoubtedly be the most glorious place.  Too glorious, in fact for us to even be able to comprehend an ounce of its true beauty.

So, I saw the movie tonight with my mom, “The Lovely Bones.”  I was quite impressed that they did such a good job of accurately portraying many aspects of the book.  There were, however, certain key elements (in my humble opinion) which were either altered or left out entirely for the sake of the movie.  Anytime something like this happens, I feel a mild disappointment.  I do realize that a director, editor, and production crew must do what is best for the movie and must keep the story line rolling.  All of this must happen within a certain windowed timeframe to keep our interest.  (Unless of course we’re talking about “Titanic”.  I know that was a 4-hour movie, but I would have watched it if it had lasted for 9.  I LOVED that movie.  I went on such an emotional journey with that picture that I literally had to wait until the movie theater had completely emptied before I would even dare to get up out of my seat.  I was a crying, mascara-smeared, hyperventilating, snotty mess.)

Although I liked the movie it didn’t provide the full impact that I received from the book.  I can think of about 5 other books right off the top of my head which I could say the same about in regard to their movie counterpart.  Nine times out of ten the book is probably going to be better.  I personally believe that this is because when we read, we are forced to create our own images and our own interpretation of the story.

Perfect example: I read the “Twilight” series which all of my friends were RAVING about.  My mom was not happy about this at all.  I suppose Carolynn was fearful that I would want to become a vampire or perhaps would be inclined after reading this to join a vampire cult of sorts.  Anyway, while reading the book (especially the first of the series, “Twilight”) you are continuously told about the unearthly beauty of the main character, Edward.  The author goes to great lengths to describe every tiniest detail from his piercing amber-colored eyes to his Michelangelo-esque sculptured abs.  Edward was supposed to be the most unbelievably attractive man (vampire) to have ever walked the face of the earth.  Oh, wow, the Edward I had in my head was traffic-stoppingly gorgeous.  It would literally make you swoon just read his name on a page.  Then reality hits and the movie comes out.  The first preview that I saw made me want to throw my shoe through the screen!  I don’t know who was in charge of casting, but THAT Edward was MOST DEFINITELY NOT MY EDWARD!!!!  Don’t get me wrong, he is an okay looking enough actor, but unearthly beautiful…. not so much.  After all the build up the author had given us it would have been virtually impossible for any actor to even come close to Edward’s fictional level of perfection.  I had that first image from the booked burned into my mind.  Nothing else short of that could have even come close.  Although the big-screen Edward will do, (to quote a familiar song) it ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.  I regret so much that each of you couldn’t spend even just a few brief moments inside of my mind so that you too could see Edward the way I saw him!  Okay, moving on…

After watching both of these movies and gathering my thoughts about them I began to wonder about something.  You may not agree with me and that’s just fine.  One of the reasons I most enjoy to write is to hear the response and opinions of others.  It will never hurt my feelings if you disagree with me, that’s the beauty of us all being individuals.  It makes the world a more interesting place.  My question based upon my movie-verses-book experience is this… wonder if God has a similar reaction to us when we think we have a grasp on Him, His power, or our life hereafter?  Wonder if all of the nights we’ve sat up as children or as adults and imagined what His plan is and what His Heaven will be like, do you think He’s sitting there thinking, “It ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby”?

I am confident that God’s plan, His purpose, and his hereafter are more breathtaking and awe-inspiring that we can even start to process.  When I see pictures and colors and feel emotions about heavenly places like I did tonight it makes me yearn deep in my soul to be there with Him and see the true wonderment of it all.  How awesome that all of our wildest dreams are merely a fraction of what the WHOLE of eternal life with Him will be like. 

I can’t wait to be there one day, free from the pains and sadness of this world.  Don’t get me wrong- I’m not wanting to go today.  I want to see my children grow old and have happy lives and I want to be here to serve out the entirety of my purpose in this world.  I will wait with anticipation and growing excitement about seeing the face of my God, perhaps somewhere in a beautiful meadow underneath a wide-spread, fragrant tree.  In my perfect Heaven all of those I love will be there and we will all be joyfully praising His name through eternity.  And you know what the real beauty is for me in all of that?… it’s that even as wonderful as I’ve imagined all of that to be, I know it’s going to be even better.  I know that my vision of heaven is only a fragment… it ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. June Gladson
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 08:22:53

    I have seen may movies that I thought the book was better. I don’t think you are alone. I can’t wait to see Lovely Bones. I also love the images of heaven that come to mind when reading a book, article, listening to a song, etc. – just makes me feel good to know there is a better place awaiting us.
    If you ever get the chance, search for the audio of a group called Dailey and Vincent (bluegrass group). They have recorded a song called “The Other Side”, written by Jimmy Fortune, of The Statler Brothers along with some other songwriter. It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I cried the first time I heard it. It was written after one of their fathers had died.
    As always, I love your blog. Always ente



  2. June
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 08:24:39

    ….will continue….always entertaining and insightful. Thank you for sharing, Amanda..



  3. Joline
    Feb 11, 2010 @ 09:51:39

    Once again, a beautiful & uplifting story. Love to read your posts, Amanda! You should start an inspirational fiction book club. Would be more than happy to work with you on that at the library! J



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