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We have watched a lot of Hallmark movies this year. First there were the ones that led us up to Christmas – all rather formulaic, but preferable to much of what else is on television lately. The one thing that always bothers me (and always is present in the stories) is a moment when the protagonist overhears a conversation or sees a situation that s/he interprets incorrectly, which subsequently leads to a rupture in the burgeoning relationship of the two main characters. Within five minutes of the “denouement” there is a reconciliation, of course, and the final kiss that seals the relationship and enables a “happily ever after.”

What bothers me about this universal set of circumstances is the fact that none of the characters investigates the perceived change of heart in the love interest. There is never any conversation, never an answer to “what could be a different outcome here?” People just leave without an explanation or a trace. Of course, they are swiftly back in the scene before the clock strikes and just in time for the kiss, frustrating me with the shallowness of the characters and their behavior.

This rant about my TV time distress is similar to the reading today from the Book of Daniel (ch. 13) where two elders plot to violate a woman and, if they are found out, to lie about the situation to avoid shame or punishment. Luckily for the young woman, Daniel steps up and makes things right by quick thinking (a great story), but it does remind me of our tendency to judge by appearances rather than by deeper thinking and/or evidence.

The lesson here is for myself (and maybe some of you). Why does it bother me so much? I really do think it has to do with the simple formula of the episodes, at least somewhat, but I wonder if there isn’t sometimes a mirror being put before me to check on my own rush to conclusions in certain situations.

We Sisters of St. Joseph have a maxim that provides us good advice from our founder. It says: “Always interpret everything in the most favorable sense.” Maybe I should send that to the Hallmark writers…or maybe just try harder to take it to heart myself.