Sometimes it’s the little things that count. The other day I asked my friend Sheila to go see a movie with me. I gave her two options – Silver Linings Playbook and The Impossible. I sent my invite via Facebook and somehow in reading it we had a communication gap and she thought I was inviting her out for Saturday when in reality I was inviting her for Friday. As a result, she told me to give her a call and we’d talk on Saturday and I thinking she was unavailable for Friday went out to see Silver Linings Playbook by myself.
When we finally talked and figured out the confusion, I suggested we could still see a movie. I could tell that she preferred Silver Linings Playbook over The Impossible, so I offered to see it again and I was happy to do so.
When we arrived at the theater, I saw that Les Miserables was playing, a movie I had wanted to see since Christmas Day. I said, “Oh, Les Mis is here, I’d love to see it.” We talked a bit about what we each had heard about the movie and even spoke to some people we knew coming out of the theater about it. Then Sheila surprised me. She turned and asked, “Would you rather see Les Miserables?”
It might sound funny for me to be shocked by such a simple question, but to be honest I am used to usually attending films with friends and family members with very definite views on what they will and will not see and frequently find myself accommodating them to keep the peace. My father will not sci-fi, art house films, or anything historic such as medieval movies where people wear thick clothes, as he sees it (Don’t ask). My friend Joan foregoes horror, action films, and animal movies with sad endings. My friend Chris has even more specific taste -- usually going against the mainstream. Most of my friends will not go see a film if I have already seen it, not to be kind, but rather in protest that I went without them, so I often find myself pretending that I haven’t gone. Since I’m usually willing to see just about anything and over and over again, it’s not that big a deal. Or so I tell myself, but I was taken aback when Sheila tossed this question out there as an honest choice. The thing that really got me was the sincerity behind it. She was perfectly happy to have us see Les Miserables instead of her preference and I realized that since I had genuinely enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook the night before and thought Sheila would really like it as well, I was truly happy to see that again if she wanted. Turns out she really did and we enjoyed sharing the experience together. Still, her kind gesture and the genuine choice it provided me touched my heart and opened me up to a new possibility – sometimes I can choose. It was a small thing on her part, but it left a big impact on me.