Episode 8 of Celestial Method (Sora no Method) is, perhaps, the first in the series I’ve enjoyed from beginning to end. We finally get a nice, emotional breakthrough for Shione and, just to mix things up a bit, the resolution isn’t a resolution at all, complicated by advancement of Noel’s storyline. Nice.
Shione’s development in this episode was sudden, but fulfilling; it’s great to see her take big leaps forward. She’s a character I like – this, even though, I would probably very much dislike Shione if she were real. Actually, I know I would, because I’ve known lots of people like her, and they’ve all been difficult to along with.
And so it’s no surprise that of all the characters in Sora no Method, Shione is the hardest nut for Nonoka to crack. The rest are burdened or hurt or hiding behind walls, too, but none are so stubborn. We would forgive Nonoka if she just decided, “To heck with this – it’s too hard. I’m not going to keep wasting my time and energy on someone that doesn’t want to be my friend.” I think that’s what most of us would do.
But then, nothing would have changed.
I imagine in our lives, we all have relationships with difficult people, be they among family, friends, classmates, instructors, or co-workers. It’s often easier to just avoid them, and in that way also avoid hurt, pain, and distress. But there’s a better way, and it’s demonstrated by Nonoka.
This episode shows that Nonoka shared some blame in the disrupted relationship with Shione, even if the latter took it to an unhealthy extreme. But even before Nonoka realized as much, she tried to befriend Shione. Through mean words and physical assault, she continued to approach her, time and time again.
I think it’s this: Nonoka has a characteristic that the world says is weak, that weighs us down, and that’s backwards – she is humble. Nonoka is the wave of love that changes all of her friends’ lives, once when they were young and now again, but she doesn’t see herself as above any of them. She loves her flawed friends for who they are, as she, too, is flawed. Nonoka isn’t appalled and filled with anger when Shione slaps her, for instance – she wonders what she did that might have caused such a response. And she keeps trying to love.
Christians could take a cue from Nonoka. We are not to pick and choose who we should shower kindness upon. How could we? To do so would be to totally misunderstand the gospel message, that we are all in need of grace. We are all the same, and we all need love.
Remember that message the next time you see the Shione in your own life – the message of a love that is offered to all of us. It will humble you, and who knows, it might humble your Shione, too.