Joe and I went and saw a French film last night at the Embarcadero Center Cinema in the Financial District downtown (I was extra excited because it was across the street from the Fed :). The movie was called the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It was about a very successful man in his mid to late 30's who had a sudden and unexpected stroke and ends up being paralyzed from head to toe. He has "locked in" syndrome meaning he is unable to speak or communicate although he can completely understand everything that is going on around him. It ends up being a very poignant and uplifting story about how he overcomes the challenges of his situation.
Joe and I were talking about the movie as we were driving home and we ha very different takes on it. Joe told me that seeing a movie like that makes him scared about really indulging in some of the more extreme activities he would like to take part in (sky diving, bungee jumping, motorcylces) because he wouldn't want to do anything that could potentially put him in the same position, therefore causing his friends and family a lot of pain.
I see Joe's point but I got something very different from the movie. For me, it was a story about the resilience of the human spirit. How no matter what happens to us, our imaginations and minds and hearts are capable of overcoming anything...it is also proof to me that so many of our obstacles in life are self imposed and enhanced by our own minds and usually are in fact not as big of a deal as we make them out to be.
Another realization I had was that I so often take for granted the people that I love in my life. As Jean-Do(the main character) was laying in his hospital bed he was full of grief because he could no longer enjoy the simple physical pleasures of his relationships with people, being able to hug his children or rustle their hair. he could no longer openly express his thoughts and feelings nor inquire about the thoughts or feelings of the people he loved. I can't imagine living a life without physical contact or emotional connection with the people that I love. This may sound crazy but I feel so grateful today to be able to be sitting next to my boyfriend on the couch and to feel the warmth of his body next to mine and his arm around my shoulders. I feel so grateful that I can turn my neck at any moment to give him a kiss.
I stress so much everyday about what I am going to do with my life and how I am going to become the person i dream of becoming that I forget how lucky I am to be able to enjoy so many simple pleasures in life.
I got a really nice phone message from Niki this weekend. She was doing some thinking about life and was thinking about me and some of the issues I have been having and recently discussed with her. I have been stressing a bit about my relationship with Joe and wanting to know right now if we are meant to be together and trying to decide whether or not being with him means I would have to give up some of my dreams in life.
Niki called and said that maybe I should set a time period where I don't think so much about us and our future and just enjoy our relationship for what it is right now. I think that is a brilliant and very zen idea.
Niki made me remember one of my favorite authors...Rainer Maria Rilke. He wrote a book called Letters to a Young Poet which I strongly recommend. One of my favorite quotes fromt he book is, "Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and learn to love the questions themselves."
Niki and Rainer have been wonderful reminders for me this weekend that life is supposed to be enjoyed and not constantly stressed about.
| She learned to love him before he thought it was even possible, so he didn't have a chance to hide & mess it up & while it was a little scary at times, mainly he could not even imagine the world without her there. |
I first heard of the story people from my friend and basketball teammate Jen, in Tacoma. Recently, I was at a family friend's home in San Diego and saw this story people print on their wall. I like it because it makes me think of what I think true love is...I like that the man just couldn't imagine his life without this woman.