Tonight my wife and I went to see an interesting movie: Precious.
It was the amazing story of a 16 year old overweight young black girl named Clarisse Precious Jones. Precious lived a painful life where manipulation, incest, and physical violence was common. Her life was a struggle as she was born and grew up in Harlem. I found myself sitting in the theatre with my wife and the 3 other souls who watched the film in silence. While watching the film many things came through my mind.
First and foremost was the indomitable spirit that this young woman had. She was called the vilest names and being overweight and not physically pretty, she took a beating inside and out. I say inside and out because it seemed that no one ever had anything nice to say to her and she was abused by the thugs in the neighborhood as well as the constant abuse at home. Precious was beaten and raped by her father since she was a small child and grew up with nothing but negativity surrounding her.
She bore two children through her father; one being a down-syndrome child and the other showing no signs of a birth defect. While her father was a nasty sort her mother was not only physically abusive but she treated Precious with vile and contempt. She stood by and watched as her husband took Precious sexually from the time she was a small child. In fact, she hated Precious because she felt that Precious was taking her man away from her!
While the film was disturbing on many levels, the beauty found itself out through two characters. One was the woman, Precious herself. Despite the negativity that surrounded her always, she always had some sense of herself that kept her alive. While she wasn’t always positive and she had a mouth that a sailor would envy (lots of swearing!), her desire to live a good life sustained her. She would go to a fantasy world when she was experiencing being molested by her father or abused by another.
The second person who made a huge difference in her life was her ABE teacher (Adult Basic Ed) who found the purity within Precious and nurtured it. Precious had an aptitude for math but could not read at all. This lady encouraged her and as sometimes happens, the spark from another was a catalyst towards improvement and the road to a better life.
Just when Precious seemed to be getting her life in order by leaving her mother and going to a halfway house, her mother came to visit and told her that Precious’s father had died from AIDS. Shaken, Precious went to the doctor and found out she was HIV positive. Still she did not give up.
What I took away from this film was first and foremost the blessings I have in my own life and that the problems I feel are important pale in comparison to what some individual’s are experiencing in their lives. The second thing that stuck with me was the amazing value that a simple act of kindness can do. All of us long to be loved and appreciated for who we are not what we look like. Everyone deserves to be told that they’re smart and beautiful and that they can accomplish anything if they set their mind to it. Sadly, this isn’t the case for a lot of people in the world as they deal with violence, mental and emotional abuse and have little positive reinforcement in their life.
You just never know who or what someone is experiencing in their lives and so I found myself motivated to treat each person as someone who longs to be acknowledged, honored, and loved. We’ve become a society that tends to restrain ourselves emotionally and we censor our thoughts as we don’t want to risk being hurt by exposing our “softer” side.
I challenge you and me for that matter to look for the “Precious” people in the world and if you can’t tell if they are someone like the young lady in the film, pretend anyway and give them as much encouragement and heartfelt love and compassion as possible. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain and you just never know who you might affect. The one positive act or word from you can be enough to alter the course of someone’s life. Don’t miss the chance to deliver it.
With love and blessings to you always,