Today I watched the movie Sound of Metal. There is a line in that movie, without revealing too much, which says,
that place, those moments of stillness, is the kingdom of God.(Sound of Metal, 2020)
I have been thinking about this thought in reference to the simple opportunity for joy. Life and what we consider life to be over the past year has been within our adjustment of ourselves, away from sickness and closer to living enjoyably within our own bubble.
I’m watching this movie right now called Dragonslayer, which stars a very young Peter MacNichol, whom I love. There is a line in the film where a man says, to paraphrase:
what good is magic, what important things has it accomplished, anyway? (Dragonslayer, 1981)
I feel this way in respect to all the old things I have that either no longer define me as a person or serve me well: bad habits, journals, my ever-expanding collection of clothes. These things hold space for something I’m not sure I even want. In this case, magic might be the absence of clutter or the hope for something new, like a clean apartment. I’m making sense of what’s in front of me until its held up to the light and I can make out a different pattern.
What the pandemic has me feeling lately is that we cannot get back to what was, in that nothing from the past actually exists, except for what is in our minds. The one thing we can control is our minds, and our perceptions of things is the one thing we can re-examine, again and again like flipping a stone over and over in the palm, and although I’m not really happy with the things I feel like I’ve lost, like ever being able to watch live music again while standing in a closely packed, sweaty room of fans, I am looking forward to time passing, hugging a good friend I haven’t seen in a while and walking through a busy crowd of people without wincing, without wearing a mask. To that life, I send it off, away from me. I have hope we can fashion a world where these things are again possible.
Last night, I watched the Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors play on TV. You could buy tickets to that game that night, ranging from $85-$1500. There is no piped in audience anymore, which was always so phony. The recordings only ever cheered. Now you can hear actual people cheer and boo. During yesterday’s Red Sox game, I noticed that the players who made it to the next base do the American Sign Language gesture for clapping. They wave their hands at people with no sound. The new tradition of authenticity is expression with different senses and present voices, and in this way I want to be part of the new trend.