Do you ever notice how sometimes, everything comes together all at once to produce one of Those Moments? Like when I’m driving, and the Shuffle feature on my iPhone checked with the surrounding scenery to produce a Perfect Driving Moment – musical and visual perfection.
Well this weekend I had something like that happen. It involved a film, a phone conversation, a story I’ve been working on, and some text messaging. A Perfect Lesson.
Last night I watched Up In The Air, starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga (who is in my cousin Chris’ new film Goats – yay!). It’s directed by Jason Reitman, who also did Juno, Thank You For Smoking, and the new Young Adult, among others.
This movie was excellent – in a really depressing way. The super short plot summary: George Clooney’s character has a career traveling the country and firing people. He’s never home, and he never lets anyone into his life. Then he meets a woman who he actually ends up falling for – he lets her in. She turns out not to be who he thought, and he goes back to his solitary traveling life. He’s changed by the experience, but in the end he finds it easier to go back to the way things were – being alone.
This is another one of those films that I love, where someone finds their voice, and takes a chance and says something. But this movie doesn’t really have the happy ending that we’d like it to. Rather than the love story we want to see, we get something a little less satisfying.
When we take a chance, and let ourselves be vulnerable, we expect to be rewarded by Something Good happening. But when it doesn’t, we take this as a failure. And it’s so easy to give up, and be silent and go through our lives not speaking what is there for us.
I’ve known several people in my life that are like this. They took a chance, didn’t get the result they wanted, and so they isolated themselves and never really spoke again (yes this is a metaphor, silly). I’ll bet we all know someone like this. Yes, it’s so easy to give up. My own Mom lived such an isolated life, she died without me even really knowing who she was. This breaks my heart to see someone live their life this way.
Yet after everything that’s happened to me over the last year, I’ve come pretty close to giving up, too. I couldn’t think of a good reason to bother anymore. Why say what is there for me, when it doesn’t seem to produce the result I want? And sometimes just the opposite, it results in pain or disappointment… Who wants to bother with that? It kind of sucks!
Well, we bother because it’s part of being human. I think a big part of being human, is to create. And we create every time we say something. We create a possibility, a piece of art, a story, a condemnation. To want to say what is there for us is human.
Maybe I’m a little bit closer to getting it right. I don’t mean the happy ending part – maybe I’ll never get that right (but oh god I surely hope so) – I mean the part about understanding why it’s important to keep Saying It. It’s not about the result that it produces. It’s about having the courage to keep going, and the act of just showing up and taking that chance. I won’t ever give that up.