Yesterday I took the teenaged Lutheran Chicks to see "Juno." They wanted to see it. And I was not adverse to them seeing this movie about a teenage girl who sleeps with her friend because there was nothing good on TV, and ends up pregnant. Much of the movie is clearly in the genre of how the average 16 year old girl in a small town would deal with being pregnant in high school. One person told me they thought the movie focused too much on the teenager. But there is real coming of age through that lens. Was there some language I would rather not hear? yes. Were there moments if I thought this was such a good idea? yes. But it reminded me of when I wanted to see "Saturday Night Fever." Yes, I AM that old. My parents would not let me go without my Dad. He sat there cringing through the sex scene and some of the language and innuendo. I was not bothered. The truth was, that this was language I was already hearing at school, and life for me in high school was different than the
So it was for me with the Chicks, and this was not the 70's. And I wanted them to see the movie because it dealt with teenage pregnancy. At one point, the girl comes home for the day and her Dad asks what she has been up to and she says, "Oh, just dealing with things beyond my level of emotional maturity." And that is why, though it is gritty, this was a good movie to take them to. Watching the wheels turn, and having a good conversation, with my almost 16 year old saying " I promise I would never put myself in this situation." In one scene, Juno has decided to have an abortion and goes to the clinic. She meets a classmate outside of the clinic who is protesting. They talk and then Juno continues on toward the door. It is at that moment the protesting friend says, " Did you know your baby already has fingernails?" She tries to ignore this fact and cannot.
So, after the movie, we come home and I am still thinking about whether this was too mature. Then I remember there are pregnant girls at the school. Then I hear how my older daughter has finally convinced her friend to tell someone about how her Mom is treating her. Then is when I learn that Mom pushed the girl down a flight of stairs, among other things, and my quiet child, did not betray any confidences but convinced the friend to get help. Then is when I find out that our spare teen has not had her Mom at home for the last day and a half, just Mom's boyfriend who tells her he wishes she did not live there. SO she stays in the basement and eats ramen noodles in her microwave to avoid having to be upstairs with him. Then is when I remember that my children live in a world with Juno's and teens whose lives are just as complicated. We could wish it was different. We can wonder why it is not. We can be amazed that these people live in nice houses that do not belie the truths behind the doors. But God's work is here. May we help those in our midst who have to deal with things beyond their maturity every day and may we show them that God walks with them.