What about Patrick Dempsey?

I enrolled at my current gym for many reasons, one of which was the Cardio Theater. The treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines reside in the darkness of the cinema facing a large screen. I knew that I would run indoors for part of my training, and treadmills are straight from Satan. I love movies, so the thought of running on a treadmill (a nasty necessity) seemed tolerable (almost inviting) if I considered viewing a film at the same time.

Usually, the gym repeatedly plays one movie a day, and each day boasts a different movie. However, the gym’s Netflix subscription has been wrought with technical difficulties, and the movies vanished. As a substitution, the Cardio Theater contains the sounds and images of the Hallmark Channel.

I’m unfamiliar with the Hallmark Channel during the majority of the year; it could encompass some really, riveting material. However, during Christmas season the movies on this network follow a certain template (to say the least).

The guy doesn’t get the girl, then the girl finds a new guy and goes through some difficult situation realizing her mistake, and the girl goes back to the original guy on Christmas.

I watched a movie the other night where the leading man boards a train only to find his long, lost love on the same train!  Then, his girlfriend surprises him by coming on board midway through the cross-country trek, and she proposes to him! The gentleman lets the would-be-fiancé down with kind words of how, “you know we aren’t really good together.” With little fuss, she assents and wishes them well.

I have been romantic collateral damage in my life, and this is not what it looked like. My situation involved pain, tears, and TV watching as therapy (crime shows, not romantic comedies).

How are we as consumers so easily able to cast off the “other person?”

The train film reminded me of another movie where Reese Weatherspoon goes away to become a fashion designer and gets engaged to Patrick Dempsey. When she returns to her small town home to get divorced from her first husband (which somehow she failed to do), she ends up falling back in love with her now artistic and responsible husband who owns his own business.

Have you seen this movie? Did you want them to get together at the end? But, what about Patrick Dempsey?

He was a good guy (other than that Murphy Brown was his mom) who loved Reese. He had done nothing wrong. He fell in love with a girl who lied and never told him she was still married. He gets left at the altar and, in a chivalrous fashion, bows out with a smile on his face. And, we cheer.

How is this okay?

I know it’s only television and it’s not real, but what we see and hear has a funny way of becoming what we think and do. Sometimes people are collateral damage in our lives and not necessarily in a romantic way.

Do you have a Patrick Dempsey in your life? (I wish, right?) Is there someone you overtly overlook and cast aside?

  • Are you 100% faithful in word and deeds to your person? Is there another person you dole affection (even harmless affection) to that should be reserved for someone else?
  • Is there someone at work who you belittle, ignore, or don’t help out as much as you do another coworker?
  • Is there a neighbor that you gossip about?

I understand that writers used the characters mentioned above as chess pieces in a narrative plotline, however, it is a common human habit to applaud the people we want to win and turn a cold shoulder to people in our lives who are less popular.

But, that’s not what we are called to do. We are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves as Matthew 22:39 reveals. This refers to ALL neighbors, not just the ones we like or prefer.

So this holiday season keep your eye out for a Patrick Dempsey in your life and maybe try not to sweep him off to the side so quickly. As for me, I’ll have to struggle through the Hallmark Channel though I did have a conversation with the gym manager regarding when the usual Netflix will be up and running.


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