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Pretty Woman

Over the weekend, we watched Pretty Woman again. The movie is one of many versions of Pygmalion and has become a classic. Julia Roberts won an Oscar nomination for best actress. We enjoyed it thoroughly again.

When checking the movie’s reviews, I found that the critics were lukewarm about the film when the studio released it. Many were negative. One actually rated it with a 0. Many were mean and snarky.

I think the criticisms offer broader messages. The negatives simply were wrong. Viewers and even the Academy thought otherwise. I also wonder whether those that were so mean needed to be. How did the actors and production people feel? Did they find anything instructive or were they just hurt?

We live in a negative world. Mean, insulting, and nasty comments dominate. Perhaps rose colors my memory of earlier times. I do not think so. The advent of the Internet, and now the predominance of social media, seems to have fueled an outpouring of bile, occasionally quite vicious. Friends attack friends. Disagreements meet not discourse but ad hominem personal slurs. The attitudes spill over into real-life personal interactions. In these times of short-staffs, thin patience feeds harsh reactions upon servers and clerks. And more and more.

I draw two necessary responses for better life in these times, one internal and one external. First, don’t let the critics weigh you down. If you have lessons to learn, then learn them. Yes, the words also can sometimes be mean and hurt. In the end, you control how you will respond emotionally. You cede control of your life to others when you let them control your emotions. Internal control is not an easy thing and none of us can claim mastery. We can recognize impact, practice and become better. Be nicer to yourself.

The second is the external—how we respond to others. The thing I find perhaps most troubling today is there is so little grace. We all hunger for grace in our lives, even if we do not recognize or admit the need. We are so poor at the practice of it. When I see mean-spirited statements on Facebook, sometimes shared openly between family members and long-standing friends, they disturb me. I can only imagine the feelings of the recipients. A harsh verbal assault on a restaurant server also disturbs me. Imagine how the server must feel?

I find myself turning more and more to Christ to help me practice grace. His grace is sufficient. I aspire to become a person where grace is my natural response. Alas, I am not that person. I show intentional grace when I show it at all. That means I manage to control my response instead of follow my default baser instincts and decide to show grace. Here again, and even less so than with my internal response, I am far from a master.

If none show grace, none will receive it. No matter where we find a source of strength, Christ is mine, if we want to live in a more graceful world, we have to give grace. Hesitation is the key. The immediate nasty reaction on Facebook is easy. So too the vent toward a server. With just a moment’s hesitation, we can think. What good will I do? Will I make that person’s life better? Will I be a better person?

Those are the questions I ask myself when I manage to hesitate. I confess to inconsistency on hesitation. Sometimes I change my response. Sometimes I just do not respond. If I hesitate, I rarely choose to be negative. I have at least begun and occasionally see a positive impact. They are small, but meaningful nonetheless.

Few of us will impact the world significantly. Many of us think we cannot at all. That is a lie we tell ourselves. We can contribute to making the world a better place to live. We cangive and receive grace. Each time makes the world better in a small way, and may make each of us a better person. Practice grace.

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  1. Steve Cloak on October 25, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Amen – very well stated.

    • Tom Trezise on October 25, 2021 at 7:45 pm


  2. kejessie on October 25, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    I follow or try to, always be kind. I’m not sure it’s the Grace you speak of but to me it’s easier to say something kind and encouraging than to be negative in my interactions with people.

    • Tom Trezise on October 25, 2021 at 7:45 pm


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Welcome, I'm Tom

I'm Tom Trezise a retired lawyer and corporate executive with over twenty years of experience as a Methodist lay preacher. Raised in Appalachia, I proudly call myself a hillbilly at heart. I'm the executive director of The Everyday Kingdom, a non-profit devoted to fostering a community that helps people find and experience the peace, purpose, and joy available from living every day in Christ’s kingdom.

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