Every once in a while the planets align and something drops into my life with such a clear message it’s like getting hit by a two-by-four. I never know the form this will take – a photo, a quote, a story that comes across my Facebook feed – but it inevitably knocks a brand new kind of sense into me.
A couple of months ago this kind of revelation came from a pretty unlikely source: my Netflix queue.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Netflix. Some might say a little too much. And sure, some of the shows I’ve watched have been thought-provoking, but life changing? That’s kind of a tall order.
When the mailman delivered this particular DVD I was expecting a lighthearted comedy, so you could have knocked me over with a feather when the end found me sniffling on the couch with a heart split so wide open you could drive a truck through it.
Over the summer friends had recommended that I watch “Moms’ Night Out.” They said it was roll-on-the-floor, try-not-to-pee-your-pants funny which set the bar pretty high, but to be honest my own expectations were already kind of low. I remembered seeing the trailers while it was in the theaters. It looked like a typical slapstick comedy about moms who go out for a night of fun only to have all hell break loose.
Eventually this movie rolled to the top of the queue, so when it showed up in our mailbox I aimed for a humorous mindset before watching it. It had been a particularly rough few weeks, and watching something that would make me laugh seemed like a pretty good plan. It’s not like it could make my mood any worse. So we popped the DVD in and sat back to watch.
*************** SPOILER ALERT ***************
I’m going to discuss “Moms’ Night Out” and how it connects to that two-by-four lesson. If you read this post the movie will still be funny as all get out, but you should stop now if you prefer plot surprises.
In case you’re opting out, here’s my nifty substitute blog wrap-up: Life lessons can appear in the most unlikely places.
The movie is told in the first person from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom, and from the moment she started speaking it felt like some kind of split personality thing. All I could think was this is me!
It was like watching my life play across the screen, hearing my own thoughts in another person’s voice. That’s Twilight Zone kind of stuff right there. “I’m always behind, I’m not enough for these kids, I’m not giving enough, I’m not happy in my life…” Holy crap, someone crawled inside my head and wrote a movie!
So in the story – which, by the way, is ridiculously well-written, laugh out loud funny, and ties everything together in the most creative way – three moms leave their kids behind with the husbands so they can hit the town to recharge their batteries. Hijinks ensue, the evening falls apart, and soon you find yourself holding your stomach, laughing until tears are rolling down your face.
But then…then they bring it all together, and by the end of this movie (poorly marketed as a “crazy moms’ night” romp) it’s all about how you are enough just as you are. That simply being here on this earth doing what you’re doing, just by being yourself – it’s enough.
Trying to be perfect, to always do the right thing, to say and be and wear what’s “right” – none of that matters. I’m already loved, fully and completely, exactly as I am. I. am. enough.
I have to say, when we dropped “Moms’ Night Out” in the DVD player I was expecting a lighthearted comedy that might lift my spirits. I never in a million years saw what was really coming my way.
By the time we were done watching I’d laughed myself silly, but I’d also finally grasped a lesson life had been throwing at me for a while. (I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.) I finally saw my truth once I released the idea that my life has some greater purpose I’ve yet to discover.
I’m exactly who I’m supposed to be and my life, exactly as I’ve lived it, is enough.
I can’t say I really thought of the Erwin brothers as my go-to guys for enlightenment but hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. “Moms’ Night Out” – 98 minutes of extraordinarily funny writing, a plot that resonates with moms everywhere, and an existential lesson in accepting yourself. Not too shabby, Netflix.