The Function of Dysfunction

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August: Osage County is a rough flick.  It’s a “family” movie with a wicked twist, so if you’re looking for a feel good, light and fluffy, family film to watch with the whole household, this is not the one to see.

That being said, this film is worth its salt. Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts bring their “A” games to the screen in this dark and dim, dismal and downbeat portrayal of a family gone wrong and family life without a victory song.

Dysfunction is on full display in this emotionally explicit and verbally visceral depiction of family failure. Director John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County tells the tale of the dysfunctional Westin clan, who all come together after the death of the patriarch. Meryl Streep plays the matriarch as she fights mouth cancer, a growing dependency on pain pills, her family and herself in a “how to” dissertation on dysfunction.   As the clan bickers and jokes, old truths come to the surface, jealousies flourish, and eventually each of the characters confronts some past hurt or future fear.

A team is like a family, and a family is like a team.  When there is passion and devotion, compassion and dedication, the team, and the family, will win. Without trust and transparency, honesty and humility, the team will lose. It’s that simple. On every team and in every family, without truth and temerity, sincerity and solidarity, the family will dissolve into dysfunction. And the function of dysfunction is destruction.

The function of a team is to acquire the victory and to secure the triumph.  In August: Osage County, no one wins.  No one. It is a “team” loss on all fronts. And so the vital lesson is to avoid and overcome dysfunction at all costs. Chemistry and overcoming calamity, harmony instead of heated hostility are necessities and not niceties. Accord and agreement, unity and unanimity are requisites and requirements for healthy teams and happy homes.  On the contrary, dysfunction is a sure sign and a dead giveaway of a losing and lackluster lineup.

Dysfunction is a failure to function normally. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen and experienced it at one time or another. When it’s up close and personal, it hurts all the more.

So let’s strive to function as God designed because dysfunction is NOT in God’s playbook. Let’s endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.  In order to function as we were formed, we must “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends. Remember, the Lord forgave us, so we must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13-14, New Living Translation

Amen.

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