Friday, June 13, 2014

your dream, your truth

When it comes to stories, which I love, I wonder idly, "What's the matter with grown-ups?"

The question gently reared its head last night when I was watching a 2004 Swedish movie called "As It Is in Heaven." The story concerns a renowned conductor who suffers a heart attack, retires to his somewhat bleak childhood hometown, assumes the role of choirmaster at the local church and eventually realizes his lifelong dream of creating music that will open people's hearts. The movie was a hit in Sweden and ran for 103 weeks in Australia.

While not as good as I wanted it to be, still the story was peopled with grown-ups -- characters who had real human characteristics that affected both them and the people around them. They morphed, just like real people. They were bossy, loving, constricted, open-handed, cruel, kind and had bouts of both laughter and tears.

When I compare that to the general celluloid/digital fare in the United States, I wonder: What's the matter with grown-ups? Is it that Hollywood suspects there will not be enough income from viewers and therefore trots out characters whose intellectual and emotional capacities are deliberately limited ... good guy, bad guy, beautiful women and plain Janes, strong and weak ... always nourishing the easiest descriptors of human life.

Mind you, I am as conflicted as the next fellow: I too want to be drawn in and entertained. I too allow stories to edit what cannot be edited. I don't want the story of a boring person to be boring. But what's the matter with giving the magic show a bit more magic and a bit more daring? What's the matter with trying to depict what it's like to have a dream or keep a gnawing secret ... you know, the kind of stuff that people actually do?

The movie also made me wonder:  What would you give for your passion, your dream, your truth?

Not, what should you give -- just what would you give?

It's a somewhat peculiar question that is strangely not peculiar at all. It is peculiar in that it is forever a question solely for the person asking it. It is, like its answer, forever sui generis. There is no second party that can interfere or somehow assist. It is a lonely question ... and yet, I suspect, everyone squares off with it in one way or another ... what would you give for your passion, your dream, your truth? All the blah-blah in the world is helpless. Whether the answer is light-weight and half-assed, compromised or driven, still it is personal in what may be the most frightening of ways.

Your dream, your truth.

Shimmering at first, but in the end, very much like a soap bubble that a child pops with a single outstretched finger. Attainment or surrender come calling one day -- one day, after so much of what you decided you would give -- and then ... pop! ... life calls out like the overworked clerk in a registry of motor vehicles office, "Next!"

Given the arms-wide-open nature of the dream or truth, it is little wonder that people would huddle beneath spiritual or marital or other roofs. These are places where others likewise have their dreams and likewise feel the fear of what it might be like to open those arms -- your arms -- wide -- at last. We are together, as one ... and yet the one, the only one, the only truth, beckons, and finally there is no other choice but to be

A grown-up.


  1. I'm pretty clear on a willingness to nap for food. But i doubt it's a deliberate position. It strikes that it's a huddled down to allow only the minimum to come in, the antithesis of risk. Open armed offerings of dreamy rewards are for other people, not me. I'm a dreamer who disbelieves the dream.

  2. Belief...
    Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

  3. Problem is, i continue to seek affirmation from others. I know better, but doubt, fear, etc.