Sunday, April 26, 2015

Count the Omer 2015: Day 22


Day 22: Chesed within NetzachLoving-kindness within Eternity
You've Got Mail

Ah, You've Got Mail. This is a great movie. It's got everything you miss about the late 1990s: young Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, independently-owned bookstores (ok, even giant bookstores), dial-up internet, and that familiar cheerful AOL voice saying, "you've got mail!" Now, the movie looks dated; I mean, look at Tom Hanks' computer in this scene. Even the concept of receiving an emailed letter from a stranger (or a friend) is outdated. All I ever get is junk mail, spam, and occasionally a friend sends me a link to an interesting article. Needless to say, this movie would be very different today.

Why am I going on about You've Got Mail? Because of this scene, of course. If you haven't seen the movie, you really should, but let me give you some context for this scene. Tom Hanks, the owner of Fox Books (basically, Borders or Barnes & Noble), is building a branch of his giant bookstore down the street from Meg Ryan's independently-owned, family-operated bookstore. Since he is putting her out of business, she dislikes him. At the same time, the two become anonymous email acquaintances and find that they have a lot in common. After some back-and-forth, they agree to meet at a coffee house, but when Tom Hanks arrives and realizes that he has been emailing with Meg Ryan, he backs out of the meeting, choosing instead to confront her as the jerk who is putting her out of business instead of the pen pal she has come to know and trust. Embarrassed at being stood up and hurt by the appearance of her professional enemy, Meg Ryan lashes out at him. We see her regret her harsh words in this scene.

Hindsight is 20/20 and with some distance from a problem, we can look back on it in context. It is easy to be kind in hindsight, but today should remind us that it is equally important, if not more so, to be kind in the here and now.