Yesterday, I called home and left a message. I said, "I'd really like a Secret Movie Night tonight. Let's have burgers and wine and a Cadbury fruit and nut bar and watch a movie."
I realize that the term "Secret Movie Night" might make grown-up readers think of all sorts of illicit adventures, but we got that term from our nephew. Some years ago, my brother-in-law instituted Secret Movie Night, where he and my nephew would watch a movie on the laptop or iPad. Later, they'd add the element of eating dinner in pajamas.
To me, the phrase says that we need a retreat, and we need something special but not too expensive. Our week left us wrung out in all sorts of ways, and it was good to withdraw. We had the dinner I envisioned while watching We Need to Talk About Kevin.
I'd read the book by Lionel Shriver, so I wasn't expecting it to be a cheery, uplifting movie. It wasn't. But it was extraordinarily good. As I read the book, I couldn't imagine how they would adapt it into a movie, but they did. It's compelling, but not too creepy. And it makes me say, "Oh my heavens, my life could be so much worse." I needed that reminder at the end of a week that included a referral to a neurosurgeon for my spouse and his beleaguered spine.
Today is the birthday of Martin Luther, and I was struck by today's entry on The Writer's Almanac, particularly this bit: "Luther's ideas and his writing led to the Protestant Reformation. But toward the end of his life, he was so overwhelmed by the scope of the revolution he had caused that he stayed out of the limelight, at home in Germany, raising a family, gardening, and playing music."
Being a good Lutheran girl, I'd always assumed that Martin Luther felt great satisfaction at his life's accomplishments. I was always taught that he hadn't meant to launch a revolution when he posted those theses to the Wittenberg door. But I have assumed that after years of confrontation with the Catholic church, after being hunted and under threat of death, that he would have felt victorious at the end.
I love Luther's coping mechanism: to immerse himself into home life and music. It's good to remember that even as we go out to fight the battles that must be fought, it's good to have retreat time and times of self-nurture.