Spice of Life

I am an absolute movie junkie! I have a huge love of films, especially off beat or arty ones that are enriched with culture, life lessons, colour, humour, drama… and especially ones with which my own life resonates … and I hit a home run last night with ‘ The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.

If a movie is bright and colourful and depicts a different culture then consider me already hooked – and this was one of those movie moments last night!

Add to it that our home already smelt like a spice bazaar (a curry pot was bubbling away on the stove) and I already felt deliriously transported! My family is actually hilarious, I’m not sure if our ‘bio-diversity’ comes from living in a country where eleven official languages are spoken and is aptly named the Rainbow Nation, but whatever the reason may be, my family sure has a love of all cultures! We absolutely love anything Mediterranean (bring on the olives and garlicy tzatziki and oh boy, any form of curry puts us on an all time high! Maybe our love of things Indian comes from a ten year sojourn in Durban. By age two, I could apparently manage a curry that would leave most adults gasping for relief! Ha!

The Best Exotic Marigold hotel is a movie about British retirees who travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm each retiree in unexpected ways. To see how each character reacts and deals with the less than ideal situations reminded me so of how people deal with life. We often expect it to be a bed of roses with a white picket fence but very often it is the exact opposite!

So often something totally unexpected gets thrown our way and we experience something that we hadn’t ever anticipated or envisioned! I for one, have not had a life I had expected and I certainly did not plan for all the obstacles and challenges I have endured. Quite frankly, it’s been hard, but I still wouldn’t want my life any other way. I wouldn’t give up the spiciness of my own ‘Marigold Hotel’ experience’ for boring white picket fences! Yes, a life of white picket fences and everything going your way, and God giving you everything you want when you want it sounds great and easy, but how on earth would you build ANY character or depth?! I sometimes look at those people (yes, we all know THOSE people) whose lives just seem marvellous, all the time, 24/7 amazingness… and I think to myself, wow… Good for you, it looks great… but how do you know how to rely on God when everything is just peaches and silver linings?! How else do you learn to appreciate things when you have always had them? When things don’t go your way, that’s when the refining of your character only starts to happen!

So when you feel like your life should have just been so much easier and only had white pickets fences, just think how bland and boring that would actually be?! Life doesn’t always go the way we had it planned. Things don’t happen when we want them too. People don’t do what we want them to do. Instead of agonising over this, rather embrace it. Embrace having your life in the care of the master creator. The same creator who created the milky way, has your life in His hands. He will do a much better job of sorting stuff out then you will! Yes, it’s not all peachy, but we need the spice in order to appreciate the sweetness! There is a greater purpose and plan going on, and during those hard moments you may not know what it is, but there IS.

I listened to a song this week that ties it up perfectly for me, it’s a song by Josh Garrels, called Farther along. In it he sings,

So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold

I have digressed so back to the movie- The movie focuses on old age but also on how precious time is, irrespective of your age. This is such an important factor to grasp about life. Such a biggie, actually! Time is precious! Life on earth can all end in a blink of an eye (I so narrowly missed this happening during the hijack trauma) but it can also begin in a blink of an eye! No matter how old or young you are, the worth you place on time and life I feel will ultimately either cause you to appreciate it and deem it precious and embrace it or squander it and just exist. Here are some quotes from the movie.

Evelyn: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.
Muriel: Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing.”

“All we know about the future is that it will be different.”

“Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right then it’s not the end.”

My hope for you is that you remember that we don’t just have valley experiences, but mountain top experiences too!
That when you are in the valley, you allow God to use the not so ideal circumstances to build and refine your character and learn from them. I truly believe that He uses everything for our Good. He is a good God who wants to take us to the mountain top places!

My hope for you, is that you experience the rich and aromatic spices of life!

If all else fails, and life hands you hot spices, make a curry:)