Fences: A Rose Is Still A Rose
As I watched the movie, Fences starring Denzel Washington (Troy) and Viola Davis (Rose), a quote that I’ve seen floating around social media came to mind, “Be careful when trying to love broken men. You may cut yourself on their shattered pieces.”
Be careful is an understatement!
How about: think twice, take heed, watch out, or girrrrrlllllll……with the attitude and a side eye……just don’t do it?
But for many of us, we do! And I get why we do!
Like Rose, we see the good in these men! Seeing “the good” is our thing! We can see the good and sniff out potential like nobody’s business. We can spot potential a mile away!
But here’s the problem. Potential doesn’t always materialize. This is the case with Rose and Troy.
Rose saw the good in Troy. She saw a glimpse of the “Troy” he could be, the Troy he was desperately trying to be, and the Troy he was possibly destined to be. She saw, like many women do, glimpses of possibilities in the men we partner with. We see these glimpses early own because the best foot is always forward, early on. And we believe that our love and devotion can bring into full focus the snapshot of what we glimpsed.
And sometimes, yes!
But all too often, no!
Rose’s love and devotion proved to be no match for Troy’s pain. Rose’s love could not shield Troy from the external nor internal demons that tormented him.
But what made her think she could? And by “her”, I mean me, us, and women in general!
What makes women believe our love can change a man??????
Perhaps it’s the innate nurturing biology with which we were created.
Yeah….let’s blame God!
Maybe we’ve watched too many romantic comedies. Maybe we’ve heard and subconsciously believed the many fairytales of our childhood. Or just maybe we’re a little broken too!
How else do we explain accepting, putting up with, and tolerating broken love?
Could it be that our own brokenness leads us to believe that we’re only worthy of broken and fragmented love?
Maybe we believe that mending his broken pieces may, in turn, mend ours?! Maybe we believe fixing him will make us feel useful and needed!? Maybe mending his pieces will help us feel whole, valuable and worthy?!
But it won’t!
As Rose taught us in her final on screen dialogue, wholeness, value, and worth are the fruits of labor done from the inside! Nothing outside of us can make us feel whole, valuable and worthy. It’s an inside job! But this would be a lesson Rose learned only after toiling eighteen years in a relationship that would cut her far too deep and have her regretting…like Beyonce in her song, Sorry, “the day she put that ring on!”
But surprisingly, as Rose continued in her final dialogue she made it clear that loving a broken man wasn’t the source of her regret. Rose acknowledged that the problem wasn’t loving a broken man, it was not being careful to apply that same love to the brokenness within herself.
We will all love broken people because we are all a little broken, somewhere. The goal isn’t to avoid loving broken people. The goal is to not neglect your own brokenness in the process.
Rose knew how to love people who were broken! Beyond Troy, she loved her son, Uncle Gabe, and Lions, and they were all a little broken. She loved attentively. She treaded lightly. She didn’t push with love. She spoke truth and wisdom and gave space for it to be recognized. She looked beyond faults and saw needs…..and met needs. She loved completely, sacrificially, and wholeheartedly. Rose carefully and compassionately loved all the broken people in her life, except one. Herself! Rose didn’t give her gift of love to the one person who mattered most!
Had she loved self equally, she would have noticed long before “Eighteen years of planting her love in hard and rocky soil.” Had she loved herself the way she carefully loved others, which is what we are commanded to do, she would have, long before eighteen years, saw that her own needs weren’t being met. She would have realized that the devoted love she gave was not being reciprocated. She would have noticed and responded to that feeling inside, that intuition inside that warns us that love is distant, off, or worse, in a state of betrayal.
And this is why potential and seeing the good is dangerous. It sometimes causes us to continue to hold on to the glimpse of good, even when the full, unmasked truth is staring us in the face……and we end up cut!
I cried with Rose as the revelation of the lack of self love poured out of her and onto the screen……..
Sidebar….. can’t nobody cry like Viola Davis.