Friday, my work load was light, and I played hookie from the office to take the boys to see Guardians of the Galaxy
It was a beautiful afternoon, and the kids were in high spirits, and so was I. I timed the arrival at the theater perfect to grab our popcorn and snacks, a decent seat, and get settled in just as the previews started.
I have never read the comic book from whence came the movie, but I had read a few reviews that insinuated this was not your usual superhero fare. The "heroes" in the story are flawed, angsty, neurotic characters who find themselves, initially unwittingly, thrown together as a team, and then choose to do the right thing and pit themselves against one who would completely destroy a planet.
No need for spoiler alert there, non-existent readers, I have not shared anything you wouldn't have gathered from the previews.
What neither you, nor I, could've gathered from any previous source, is how much I would've been emotionally affected by Groot, a member of the group who, at my best guess, is basically a sentient tree.
Groot spends the entire movie communicating every sentiment, concern, worry, and argument with the phrase: "I am Groot!" He is skillfully translated by his on-going bosom friend, Rocket, a bounty-hunting raccoon.
Fast forward to the moment when everything is at a critical mass, and our new-found friends find themselves in a dire situation that they are unlikely to survive. Groot builds a thick, flowering, leafy ball of protection around our motley crew, comprised of numerous parts of himself. A sort of ent-ish force field. Rocket says, "But you'll die!"
To which Groot replies the line that will stab me straight to the heart, and render all my faculties for the prevention of sobbing tears ineffectual: "WE are Groot!"
I have always thought of myself as a misfit, not really fitting in anywhere except the groups I build around myself; fellow misfits with whom I have rapport. Until my two sons came into my life. This always has been, and always will be, the place where I best fit. Father to these two rascals who remind me constantly that I do, in fact, still have a heart.
How fitting then that Cam should look over, notice my tears in the dark of the theater, and reach up to touch my cheek. Upon discovering the wetness thereof, he took my hand, and held it while I sobbed for the beauty of a universe in which a shrub can learn the importance of life, and the belonging of a family, and a misplaced misanthrope can be blessed with his perfect compliments in the form of two handsome young men.