If you live outside of Oklahoma you are probably unfamiliar with Osage County. I live in Oklahoma and until recently had no idea where it is… probably because it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with nothing much there. Though it is the county where Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, resides, home of the Osage Nation Indian Reservation and the backdrop for playwrite Tracy Letts’ award-winning Broadway production that has now been adapted to the film, August: Osage County.
If you haven’t seen the movie I will tell you the all-star cast’s performances were superb. And it will not surprise me if Meryl Streep or Julia Roberts walk away from it with an Oscar.
Their characters kept the theater in stitches, yet at the same time it was hard to watch. For some, perhaps painfully so as the family dysfunction may look all too familiar. For others, you walk out thankful your family seems so normal compared to them.
But I want to bring this home to all of us so we see past the story of just one crazy family living in no-man’s land. Reality is it doesn’t matter if it’s August in Osage County or February in Orange County, small town or big city, educated or uneducated, wealthy or poor, we are all dysfunctional.
Maybe we don’t outwardly manifest it in the same nonsensical ways of this family, but our hearts are no different. Hearts that are easily ruled by the same desires. Hearts that want love and acceptance.
As I said in my Valentines blog there is nothing wrong with these desires, but how we respond when they aren’t met is what turns normal, good desires sinful. In the case of the film’s characters, they each so desperately sought to have their own needs met they could not see outside of themselves to possibly meet the needs of their family members.
When this happens we are demanding others love us in the way that only God can and we will always be left disappointed. With disappointment turning to bitterness, bitterness to anger, anger to resentment, we are left so blinded by these emotions that all we can think about is what we deserve and aren’t getting.
On the other hand, if we see that Christ loves us perfectly and he meets all our needs then we can be OK when others don’t. We won’t be self-consumed and self-seeking. We will be free to serve others instead of wanting to be served. We will give grace and forgiveness freely.
We will be controlled by Christ’s love and not our circumstances. We will find our identity in Him and not be defined by the sin and brokenness all around and in us. We will find laughter, joy and thanksgiving even amidst the trials that would otherwise tear us apart. We will delight in a Savior who came to die for dysfunction sinners like us.