"I Do"

A review by Jenni:

This was an experience...

What I love about this episode:

It was a good excuse to think about what my answer to Monica's question would be: what's God's greatest gift to humans?  I have to say, between her answer and Tess', I'd lean more towards Tess'.  Sunsets are beautiful and I love jelly doughnuts.  I think "marriage" isn't inclusive enough of an answer.  If Monica had said simply "love" then I would back that 100%.  As a single person, I hate to think I'd miss out on God's greatest gift.  Granted, my life is affected by marriage so even without being in one, I am touched by it.  However, I still think "love" is a better answer.  What is marriage without it?  Which I think is what Tess was kinda going after with her follow up about marriage v. wedding.

I really love Tess in this.  I've been watching TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress."  It's scary...  Among the personalities I've seen are overzealous mothers.  So I was very pleased with Tess telling Nancy she would only show her the veil Stephanie had already chosen.

Not gonna lie, seeing Monica popping out of that cake at the bachelor party was a little freaky.  But it's redeemed by a later scene.  I mean how many times do you get to hear the sentence "God sent me an angel in a cake"?  Not many!  (If you do then I have to wonder about you.)  And when Monica responds to that statement from Eddie by telling him that it shows how well God knows him... how can ya not be touched?

Monica outright tells Eddie that she's "not the marrying type."  Take note, shippers!

I love how Tess assures the family that Michael is surrounded by love, just as Andrew appears.  Lovely, loving Andrew.

I do appreciate that TBAA touched on the stigma attached to suicide with this.  That being said, I'd completely forgotten about the suicide subplot and really wasn't in a good place to hear about it today.  When Monica comments about how hard it must be to be left behind, it was almost too much for me to think about.  Still, it's a good subject to have out in the open where it can be addressed and prevented.

I really love the idea of Michael going some place else during his surgery.  There's so much peace in that idea.  I know it's not exactly the same situation but sometimes when I hear about people dying after brutal crimes or horrific accidents, I like to imagine that the AOD arrived before the worst and took them somewhere else while the act was committed.  Maybe it's not true.  But sometimes it's what I need to believe.

"Prayer is not a negotiation," Monica tells Eddie.  That's one statement about prayer that I very much agree with but also struggled to learn. 

When Stephanie tells a comatose Michael "If you have to go... I understand," I think that has got to be one of the most unselfish things a person can do.  And then when she starts saying her vows...  The scene really gets to me.  So sad.  Then, thankfully, there's the close up of their fingers intertwining!  The first sign of a happy ending around the corner!

I think it's so sweet how Eddie begins his prayer by trying to throw in thees and thous.  I'm glad Monica could help him to find his authentic voice for speaking to God.

Something about Tess telling Stephanie to "fight for her man" makes me really happy.

I always liked the scenes where a character seemed to semi-hear Andrew.  Like the brother in "Til We Meet Again."  It happens here with Nancy in Michael's hospital room and I still really like it.

Nancy's prayer turning Michael's and her own life over to God is really a perfect finale for that character.  Then when Stephanie and Eddie join her in that pew, it's perfect.

What I didn't love about this episode:
We get to see Monica's judgmentalism running at full throttle towards the start when she says Eddie doesn't seem like the key to anything.  Wow.  That's snotty.  In fairness, Andrew can get judgmental, too.  And it's just dumb luck that he ends up judging people I'm especially angered by (adulterers, for instance) and so I don't feel it's as harsh.  But poor Eddie...

This may sound really hypocritical after the statement above and maybe it is but it was so hard for me to sympathize with Nancy at first.  Later Stephanie comments about how she probly needed to become tough to keep from going crazy and I tried to focus on that.  I can definitely see where a person would turn tough and cold just to survive.  But some of the things she said and did... like when she told Eddie and Stephanie they weren't strong enough to make decisions for Michael.  Ouch.  Then when she shoots down Stephanie's joy over Michael's hand movement?  I was crushed as a viewer!  Poor Stephanie who was actually involved!  And then when she slapped Stephanie!  I really wish someone would have spoken to her more directly about her anger and bullying.  Maybe Andrew did.  I got lost in his big scene.  More on that below.

The Hallmark version makes a truly lousy cut away after (or it actually looks to be during) the scene of Andrew and Michael in the forest.  Grrr.  I think I'm going to start using "hallmarking" as a verb meaning "to edit or cut in a very sloppy manner."

Lingering questions:
I wonder what the TBAA writers would make of the movement among some people to speak of God as Our Mother and similar?  I heard about it a bit when I was working on my theology degree.  In this episode when one of the brothers (can't recall which but I think it was Eddie) comments on how difficult it is to believe in a father who doesn't leave, it made me think of those alternate names for God.  When someone does have a troubled paternal relationship, I can see where God the Mother or Grandfather, etc. would be much more acceptable to them.

As much as the character of Nancy rubs me the wrong way, she does hit on something that I've felt often: hope can wound.  I've often wondered: is it better to meet situations with hope and have them dashed?  Or approach situations with more skepticism but miss out on the soaring heights that might come with hope realized?  I dunno.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
My feelings about Andrew in this episode are very raw and very serious.  But I do have to say this: I wish I could dream (as Michael originally thinks he is) of being with an angel named Andrew in a forest!!!  We could have a picnic... walk along a stream... watch the stars come out...  pick flowers... sit by a fire and talk...  Sigh.

Now for an only semi-serious bit: hearing Andrew talk to Michael about still leading a productive life despite his injuries really hit me today in a way I doubt it would at other times.  For the JABB Christmas story, I have a scene where Andrew really has to confront his limitations due to a broken arm.  Definitely not on par with what Michael's facing but still an interesting parallel.  I actually even talk about productivity in the scene.  So it was really an emotionally vivid scene for me on multiple levels.  I, of course, wanted to hug him.

I seriously remembered this episode as "The One Where Patty Duke Beats on Andrew."  Maybe this accounts for why I had a hard time feeling for Nancy for the first 3/4 or so of the episode.  I hate seeing anyone hurt Andrew... or try to and that image is frozen in my memory.  Maybe it didn't hurt at all.  But there was still intent and so I want to protect him.  I used to imagine rushing into that scene and just shouting at her and pulling her away.  With this mindset going in, I was surprised how my viewing of it now has changed.  And here's where this gets serious...

I started to relate to Nancy... sorta.  When she was talking about sitting with her dying husband and feeling three presences (herself, her husband, and death), it seemed so familiar.  Then when she said how soon "the only one left was me"... I know I've felt that.  My situation wasn't the same.  I wasn't there when the person in question died.  But when they did I felt another presence with me, one I firmly believe was an angel.  And to date, I still feel his absence in a way similar to the absence of the person who died.  Being the only one left is hard.

And so I tried my best to focus on the scene despite this completely unexpected real life flashback.  But I was so lost in my own memories that I don't even really know what Andrew said.  But I saw how consoling he was.  And I saw how gently and warmly he held Nancy.  And I can't help but pray that one day, whomever was really there with me will come back and we can have a moment like that.

I did recover from that long enough to get properly sentimental over Andrew sitting beside Michael's bed with his hands folded.  Lovely Andrew.

Random thoughts:
The issues of spousal v. parental wishes in medical situations are very, very complicated.  Watching this made me wonder how
many times a day similar situations play out.  I can't even imagine being involved either as the spouse or parent when the two are at odds.

This episode made me think of the recent case of the gentleman with "locked in syndrome" who doctors thought was brain dead. I can't imagine being in the position of having to decide whether or not to continue life support.  I pray I never, ever have to find out what that's like.

This episode ends with Tess singing "The Wedding Song" over scenes of, duh, the wedding.  Just a note to myself for when I get to my TBAA music page.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-I didn't notice anything but there has to be something.  Maybe one day I'll re-view this one.

And further on down the road...:
Along with TDDUP, this is the episode I most fear watching on these DVDs.  As you can tell from above, I had a very strong emotional reaction to this episode last time.  Now so much more has changed.  I've lost more people I loved, John included.  So here I am cuddled up on my couch with my laptop finally ready to begin.

Tess' responses about the best gift God gave humans really aren't exclusive to humans so I think they're more shared gifts.  I'm sure angels enjoy sunsets and I *know* dogs enjoy jelly doughnuts... and doesn't Tess love them in "Into the Light"? 

"You just hold onto that 'someday,' it could turn into today before ya know it!"  Very quotable quote from Tess.

I hope if I ever get married this lovely G rated bachelor party is what my intended gets up to.  ;-) 

"Just know that you're in God's hands... and that is the very best place to be."  Lovely Andrew.  Makes me think of John.

Sometimes I do feel like I'm living out of obligation...  Don't get me wrong.  I have joy.  But I'm keenly aware of the fact that I'd have more joy elsewhere.

"You're one of His children.  He'll always be there for you."  Monica.  This episode seems to be a lot about being there and not being there and all the gray areas in between.

I can't imagine deciding whether or not my child was still there before I was even in the room with them... 

The pinkie...  I forgot about that. 

"Just be yourself.  He knows you're not perfect.  He made you."  Love all these uplifting quotes.  That one's from Monica.

"God will perform a miracle... but you must leave it to Him to decide what that miracle will be."  Another from Monica.  And I think I'll just cry from here on out.

"You cannot go to God with all that hate in you.  You've got to get rid of it first."  Tess' quote.

"And the only one left breathing was me..."  That line makes me so sad because I know exactly what that feels like.

Andrew has a beautiful quote about God and restoration but can't type it out right now.  Got it later: "You sacrifice to God your broken spirit and your broken heart.  That is all He wants you to give Him: everything that hurts and then let Him restore you."

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