My bicycle leaned against the railings and I unlocked it to the background chatter of people leaving the cinema. I looked up – the sky between the buildings was my favourite kind of night blue. The blue that isn’t yet black. The blue that says there is light somewhere. The blue that says night isn’t about darkness but about beauty. The tears began to fall. The something-ness of the emotions without name overcame me.
The last line of the movie:
‘What was it about Mom? What was it about?’
‘Yes. It was about love’. (Still Alice)
Love, families, the mother /daughter relationship where the real questions are asked and answered. Where the memory loss leads to bad jokes about not being able to remember the private journal entries she read the day before. The child who the other siblings dismiss is the one who shows up to care for her mum leaving the father to say ‘you’re a better man than I am.’ The story that no matter how much one loves, caring for another can be too much to bear. That we cannot judge another for the choices they make.
We are all doing our best. We are here but we are flawed and we are real.
All the time, ‘How to save a life’ by The Fray is playing in my head, but I keep thinking what makes a life, not just saves it? I think through the hours of the day that has just passed; how my time was spent, I was spent, in connecting with other people – mostly in meeting their needs, as a mother, a friend and as myself.
And I feel complete and incomplete all at once. This yearning for more, it’s right at our centres. It’s the pull of the eternal. It’s the part within that resonates with the soul at the heart of the universe and pulls us from our daily consciousness to a longing and understanding and KNOWING that cannot be articulated.
It’s the blue of the night sky. The bit of the darkness which isn’t dark. The perfection of the colour. The depth pulling us in to itself.
I cry for the sadness that I have relationships with my family which have included those real questions and real answers, and it’s all about love. I cry for the extraordinary privilege , almost like a win, when I realize that I have those relationships with my family. I am saying ‘how fortunate am I’ whilst also wishing that it were not so. What is it about this life, that as we get closer to the deep, destructive things – sickness and death – the richness of our humanity blossoms like the most beautifully perfumed flower. Is that the deeper magic? The magic before time? The resurrection glory? The surprise of the gospel ?
That His power is so great that it has worked to change the stench of death? It hasn’t stopped it, but I has made it part of a chain reaction which can look and feel beautiful and like blessing.
I am confounded and perplexed and grateful.
And it seems to me that the secret is not to stand in the way of the magic. Don’t hold back from the loving. If you find yourself caring for a person you love, allow yourself to see where the magic is bringing the blossoms. Smell the aroma of joy when you laugh at the unfunny together.
Today I took my child to school and told her that she had to stay at school for 2 hours. Not the 1 she wanted but the 2 we’d planned. ‘Goodbye’ she said as I dropped her off, ‘I quite love you.’ I got that jump of joy inside. She loves me. Our love has become so deep that even in the moments when I am definitely not doing what she wants she can’t not tell me she loves me.
How rich this life is; but until you find yourself in the depth of it you don’t see it.
Keep looking for the blue in the night sky.
The blue that isn’t darkness.
The blue that isn’t black.