On Jodie Foster’s “Coming Out”…

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My heart goes out to Jodie Foster.

In case you’ve missed it, the blogosphere has been all-a-twitter today about whether or not this Hollywood icon “came out” (sort of, as one writer put it) last night on the Golden Globes.

Did you watch it?

After receiving the coveted Cecil B. DeMille Award, Ms. Foster gave a — some have said “rambling,” others have said “tear-jerking,” still others “brilliant” — acceptance speech in which she made some statements that most commentators have commented was her “coming out.” That she finally admitting what so many say they already knew. To wit, Jodie Foster is gay.

Now, before I go any further with my comments, let me be clear. I am not here to pass judgment on Jodie Foster’s sexual orientation. It is not my purpose to debate the merits or lack thereof of gay marriage, in case that comes up. I seek not to engage in a dialogue about whether or not she and her former lover (Ms. Foster did declare in her speech — not once, but twice — “I am single.”) should together raise her two children (to whom she gave birth, though the identity of their “father” remains a mystery). Those are discussions for another time and place.

In this discussion, it is my purpose to isolate one phrase, not even a complete sentence, but a particle of a sentence — 16 words out of a speech that totaled 1124 words. A statement she made at the very end of her six minute forty second speech, while many — in the crowd gathered in the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, along with millions of others watching on their flat-screens around the world — were still trying to figure out exactly what she said, and what she meant by what she said. 

A scant few words that, it appears to me, were completely missed by the overwhelming numbers of people who wrote, blogged, commented on, talked about, or responded to this speech.

One phrase that, IMHO, gave us the rarest of glimpses into the soul of Jodie Foster.

The heartfelt plea that caused my heart to go out to her last night.

She ended her speech with this transparent, blatantly honest, and gutsy admission, “I want to be seen, to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.”

“I want to be seen, to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.”

To which I wanted to shout, “Yes, Jodie. Spot-on, Jodie. Don’t we all?”

You see, I’m not looking at Jodie Foster, the award-winning actress. When I look at Jodie Foster, I do not see a lesbian. I certainly do not view her as a gay activist with a militant agenda. What I saw last night — whatever she meant by, and whatever her purpose in giving what others have dubbed as her “coming out” speech — was Jodie Foster, a person. A human being. A woman. An individual who got up in front of her peers, on national/worldwide television no less, and gave an impassioned, heartfelt cry. A plea that sprang from the depths of her profound, and-now-self-admitted, loneliness.

“I want to be seen, to be understood deeply, and to be not so very lonely.”

Pause and ponder that for a second, will you?

Now for a heartfelt plea of my own: Please resist the temptation — if indeed you are so tempted — to suggest something like, “Well, of course she’s lonely. She’s a lesbian.” Or, “If she was a Bible-believing Christian she wouldn’t be lonely.” Or, “How could she not be lonely since she’s rejected God from her life.” 

It is not for me to be Jodie Foster’s judge, jury, and executioner.

But more to the point, over the years I have talked to thousands — yes, thousands — of straights who are just as lonely. Would you believe me if I told you that I have talked to thousands — yes, thousands — of Christians, of both genders and all ages, who have quietly admitted to me that they are profoundly lonely?

I can tell you of a psalmist who would wholeheartedly “Amen” that question, a biblical writer who admitted this, “I am like a lonely owl in the desert or a restless sparrow alone on a roof” (Psalm 102:6-7). Sounds pretty lonely to me. And I have no reason to suspect that he was gay.

I can tell you of an apostle who, at the end of his spectacular career — as a pioneer missionary, church planter, author, and speaker — faced death, and did so all alone. Someone who in his loneliness cried out to his son-in-the-faith, Timothy, begging him to leave Ephesus and join him in Rome (2 Timothy 4:11). This because all of his friends, with the sole exception of Luke, betrayed or abandoned him.

Here’s the thing: Jodie Foster has had her own illustrious career. A career that spans 47 years. A childhood prodigy who first took to the stage and screen when she was only three years old. An actress of immense talent who skyrocketed to the top of Hollywood’s A-List. Someone who commands, if the estimates that I read are at all accurate, some twenty million dollars per movie.

Jodie Foster has it all — fame, fortune, talent, beauty — everything that should make anyone happy. 

Yet she’s lonely. 

Yes, last night, at the Golden Globes, Jodie Foster “came out” all right. She came out as someone in significant pain. Desperate to be heard, understood, and genuinely loved.

Yes, I know that God hears, understands, and genuinely loves us. Loves me. I get that. And for that I am eternally grateful. You can rest assured that I will never discount that.

But last time I checked, (and I say this with all of the reverence in the world) God is not in the habit of giving hugs.

He needs people, you and me — our arms, our hearts — to do it for Him.

There are times when I (like you, I rather suspect) feel lonely, disconnected, abandoned and betrayed. Times when I just need a hug.

And so does everyone around us. 

We are surrounded by them, every single day. Those who are not heard, who aren’t understood, and who feel so disconnectedly and desperately lonely.

Each of us, every single one of us, at times needs an open heart, a listening ear, a heartfelt hug, a handshake/grip on the shoulder/squeeze of the arm/or my favorite: a fist-bump of understanding, a smile of acceptance, a note of encouragement, a gift of love that expects nothing in return, a text message that clearly communicates that somebody cares, a simple statement that sounds something like this: I love you, spoken by someone who sincerely means it.

Look around you. They are everywhere. People who are — just like me; just like you I rather suspect — lonely.

People despairingly in need of a gemstone of genuine care when all they see is a world of rocks. Thrown at them. A rock of an unkind look, a careless word, a cruel criticism. Thrown by insensitive individuals. Stones that hurt when they hit.

Yes, a gemstone of genuine care.

Jodie Foster needs one.

I need one.

You need one.

A gemstone of genuine care.

Which motivates me to want to give one — a gemstone of genuine care. To try to become a better person, a much-more sensitive person, a caring and compassionate person. Someone who is less me-focused, and more others-focused. Someone who sees and hears and understands and encourages and comforts another, in love, without expecting anything in return. 

Someone who is willing to give of myself to someone just like Jodie, whom last night I both heard and understood.

Someone who is willing to give of myself to so many others in my world who are living their own lives of quiet desperation, just like Jodie.

Care to join me?

Categories: Uncategorized | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “On Jodie Foster’s “Coming Out”…

  1. Brilliant. So very well writing. We are all dying to be heard, to be known, to matter. All of us. Thank you for these thoughts.

  2. LJP

    Beautiful. Thank you for that. 🙂

  3. 777_martin@msn.com

    I just love you!

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

  4. Jack

    Thanks for opening the door to the closet of the lonely. Some of us in here do not wish to bear the appearance of desperation, but we long so deeply for “God with skin on”.

  5. Rhonda Mechtly

    Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote: “The mass of mankind lead lives of quiet desperation” echoes the Biblical reality that we are created with Christ-shaped holes in our beings, that without Him we are doomed to exactly such as Ms. Foster expressed. We are created in His image, as spiritual beings, and without the indwelling of the Spirit of the only Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omni-present Jehovah-Jirah God Eternal, we are doomed to eternal floundering and foundering. Oh that mankind would see the Savior for Who He is and evermore will be! He has died – and risen again – to provide Life Eternal for us through His sacrificial, substitutionary death.

  6. Well said, Dewey!

  7. You got it man. I was just about to post my blog that has a similar theme of being unsure and insecure about life in general. Thanks for writing this, I think you got the message exactly.

    http://www.theredheadmusic.com/2013/01/not-that-far-away_15.html

  8. So amazingly well said. Thank you for that timely reminder today.

  9. Dawn Poindexter

    AWESOME, what a way to make a difference in the lives of others. Be a GEM of genuine care! Thanks Dewey for once again making me ponder about this!

  10. Laura

    Thanks so much for helping or should I say speaking so much truth!! I so much understand and pray for people who are just like Jodie. Love ya and look so forward to hearing you teach and share your love of people, but most especially God and His people!

  11. Dana Ekstrand

    Thank you.

  12. Cynthia Wales

    Great article. I do take issue with your characterization of God:
    “He needs people, you and me — our arms, our hearts — to do it for Him.” We are privileged to be used by God, but GOD DOES NOT NEED US! See Acts 17:24,25, Psalm 50, Mt 3:9.

  13. May I suggest a walk through our Soul Architecture counseling to help?

  14. Ruth Dow

    Amazing writing and I believe each one of us always need a hug now an then. God could put us there at the right time to give that hug to a person and we not know why but God does. Each one of us at different times in our life do get lonely. Most wont admit it

  15. Bazzbo

    I worship the man who felt the deepest loneliness any human ever felt………Jesus “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”….He knows true loneliness……and I’m glad he comforts and guides me each day…….nice writing……I will learn to share my life and faith more……..

  16. I like the valuable info you provide to your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and take a look at once more here regularly. I’m somewhat certain I will be told many new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

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