The Mental Health Committee suggests the viewing of these selected “Films for Tough Times,” in order to encourage the spiritual practice of compassion-building. Because good mental health requires the peaceful reduction of stigma everywhere on God’s planet, September 21 honors the designation of being the “International Day of Peace.”
Recognizing the pain of stigma found in war-torn Ukraine, as well as in the lives of asylum-seekers crossing our southern border, will assist and strengthen our ongoing work to stand with the most marginalized, here in our society, and around the globe.
Under the Same Moon (2012)….though a single mother and her son are separated across thousands of miles, their special bond can never be broken. This gives hope to 9-year-old Carlos to stay in Mexico with his grandmother, and to his mother Rosario, who has gone to the United States to build a better life for both of them. When Carlos’s grandmother dies, he is determined to cross the Mexican border on his own, in order to find his mother. He is faced with anguished challenges of being stigmatized, even as he learns to use his cleverness to resolve them, and all the while remembering his mother’s spoken messages of love to him over the phone.
A House Made of Splinters (2022)….. a documentary on the war in Eastern Ukraine, which takes a heavy toll on poor families living near the front lines. Not all casualties appear on the battlefield. A small group of strong-willed social workers do their best to create an almost magical safe space for abandoned children to live, near Lypychansk. A giant worn-down condo provides each child with temporary shelter for nine months, while cases are being processed by the court, before placement into the foster system. Each child is given a warm bed, with 6 meals a day and required school classes, along with being encouraged to dance and find joy through their pain. Despite an at-times hopeless war (which actually began in 2014 with the Russian occupation of Crimea), “Hope still flickers here….hope dies last.” Jesus taught: “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” (Matthew 5:9, The Message by Eugene Peterson)