Monday, July 2, 2012

Madea (aka Tyler Perry), I Owe You One

At some point we've probably asked, "What one celebrity would you want to meet?" To that some would pick a famous actor, athelete, or statesman. Recently, my answer to that question has changed. The famous person I'd most want to meet is now Tyler Perry. The odd thing is that I am not a huge fan of his TV shows or movies. To be honest, the humor is not my taste and the cultural context is something that is not familiar territory for me. So the question is why would I choose him? The thing that does fascinate me is that he has a message. There is a deep voice in his works that speaks to the deep pains that we experience in life. It speaks to the facade that we put up when in reality we have deep wounds that we need to face and heal from.

This is the reason is that I owe him a debt of gratitude. I would like to just shake his hand and thank him for being willing to talk about his past. Last year he appeared on Oprah Winfrey and talked about the physical and sexual abuse he experienced as a child and how it affects him. He was brave and healthy emotionally enough to step up to give his voice to abuse. To be honest I rarely watch Oprah but my wife wanted me to see it since so much of the struggles in his life sounded like mine. She was right on the mark. For that all too short hour, Perry along with other men spoke of the fear, shame, pain, anger, detachment, withdrawal, self doubt, self hate and confusion that permeates the life of a man who has experiened abuse. From what Jodi saw, I had that "deer in the headlights" stare as I watched Perry talk about the feelings I had also felt. It's like a deep dark cavern that was inside my heart was suddenly hit with a bright light. I'm not sure I can put all of those feelings into words, but it was painful, relieving and frustrating all at the same time. Perry mentioned that writing about his experiences and his Faith in the Lord were great parts of his healing.

I felt like a heavy burden was lifting off of me, but also a deep anger was seething about the loss of "what might have been" sunk in. I feel like I have carried so much of the shame of my failures when in part there was a pattern established in my life early on that helped me survive what I was going through. Unfortunately, this pattern was a hurtful and destructive one in my adult life. I hurt over the lost opportunities, broken relationships and general self loathing that I had to walk through. Thanks to God and Tyler Perry, this was the epiphany moment that started me on a better road.
When taking stock of my life, I realized that I was bullied in a deep and painful way. It was prolonged and never addressed. What I learned was to suppress the hurt, fake like I wasn't in pain and continue to be a good kid so that I could be left alone. I now can see when I am starting those withdrawn, detached, cynical patterns and break away from them. The key is to know who I am in Christ. I, like everybody else, is the deeply valued son who is blessed and loved. God has secured me and I now live safely within His care. My sincerest hope is that if you can relate to any of this, seek out the healing that you richly deserve.

Psalm 23:1-3

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.

As for Tyler Perry, I now watch his shows and films with a more understanding perspective. My hope is that the deep messages that he presents will speak to this world. He is a brother in Christ and my prayer for him is that he continues to heal and find success.

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