heroic acts of everyday grace
“It’s the every day moments of grace and despair, joy and sorrow that propel us towards our destiny. Life doesn’t have to be epic to have meaning and neither do stories. I prefer art that makes us ask deeper questions about ourselves or, at the very least, shows how fucking gorgeous and brave we are in the frailty, humor and preciousness of daily life.”
~Kymberlee della Luce
(yeah I just quoted myself, bitches!)
I wrote this in response to a friend’s blog post recently. I was talking about American cinema’s tendency to craft these epic, Aristotelian narratives that I don’t really care for. This got me to thinking about our culture and how much dissatisfaction people seem to have. I don’t think a restless heart is bad because I think its purpose is to inform us, however, I do wonder how much our culture’s tendency to consume has to do with what we’re being sold by Hollywood. Be tan, be handsome, be thin, be rich, be something-other-than-what-you-are and live in a fantasy of world of predictable narratives, big explosions and sticky-sweet love stories and you’ll get the girl, the bad guy will go to jail and we’ll all live happily-ever-after, right? Um. No.
Why? Because life just isn’t that tidy. Our souls have a different idea about why we’re here and, as mythologist Michael Meade says, “The soul will get you into the right kind of trouble if you pay attention. If you don’t, it will get you into the wrong kind of trouble so you do.” Hollywood writers attempt to get their characters into trouble by making them suffer through a bunch of crazy, unrealistic situations to create a “story arc” and make it interesting to a woefully overstimulated culture that is waiting for the next explosion, car chase or murder. It’s sickening to me. Life, in all its mundane glory, is far more interesting and beautiful.
Give me a story of a man whose dreams feel shattered against the rocks of married life. Show me how he finally realizes that it isn’t the BIG things we do but how we do the little things that are artful and elegant. Show me the look in his honest eyes when his child finally learns to read to him at night and show me how he tries to juggle writing the screenplay that he will one day finish with caring for his sick wife and child. That, my friends, is heroic.
It is the everyday moments of truth and beauty that make life worth living. It’s making love with devotion, brushing your child’s hair with tender, gentle love and allowing love to enter every pore of your being. Our hearts yearn for connection not competition. Comparing our lives with Hollywood film narratives is about as realistic as comparing our bodies and faces with airbrushed, Photoshopped models on magazines.
Our souls aren’t here to be compared with other souls. Our lives are our own, beautiful works of art. Let’s celebrate them, celebrate each other and learn to tell new stories. Let’s learn to live the questions instead of looking for answers and tidy, predictable endings.
Let’s bask in moments of everyday grace. Together.