Andi is a good friend of mine that I met during my Messiah College days, I think in a Poetry writing class. So today we’re guest posting on each other’s blogs – you can get the link to my post on Andi’s site in a second.
I’ve always been impressed by how passionate she is about writing, art and life. This guest post by Andi goes a long way to explaining why:
When I was a kid on one of those Saturday afternoons when life seems both empty and totally chock full of energy, I watched a movie All Summer in a Day (based on the Ray Bradbury story of the same name). In it a group of children lived on a planet where there was almost no sun. It rained all the time, and the kids never saw the sun. As I remember it, this fact was translated in a gray-scape for the whole film. Gray clothes, gray buildings, gray dunes and meadows. Gray everything. It was heart-breaking, even to me at 6 or 7, especially to me at that age.
But then hope came in on a sunbeam. One of the children learns of a prophecy that the sun would shine for just fifteen minutes on this one day at this one time. They planned for it, talked about it at recess, built grand stories about its coming. Hope, here it was.
Then, on the day the sun was supposed to show up, one little girl was being picked on by the other kids during a game of tag. She ran into a storage closet to hide; someone saw her, and they locked her in – just before the sun was supposed to come out. She screamed at the door and pounded her tiny gray fists against it. Then, she saw a slit of a window at the top of the room. Hope again.
By this point in the movie, I was crying, I’m sure of it. I still cry at every emotional moment in every movie, but this moment – a child denied the thing she most wanted in the world – this was unbearable. How was I supposed to survive this? How was she?
As it seemed that the little girl would die of despair, a ray of sunshine slid through that window and onto the ground near her hand. She reached out and slid her fingers into it. If this was a really bad movie, I suspect her hand suddenly glowed with color, but I can’ remember that. What I do remember is the glory she took in that one sunbeam, in the thing she had been searching for her whole life. Tears flooded her eyes, and she sat totally still with that sunbeam on her hand for the full time it was there.
I have never been able to find the name of this film (Help me out if you know it, please), but it has been archetypal in my life. This nameless film and the little girl with a sunbeam on her hand has come to represent for me the joy we can all take in having even a sliver of that which we most desire.
Now let me be clear, what we most desire is not ever more money, or more prestige, or even more cake (although cake sounds really good sometimes). These are just the things we can conceive of to make ourselves happier, the quantifiable, easier things that we settle for when we can’t or won’t pursue what we most desire.
What we really desire is to be most fully ourselves, to live into the fullness of the identity we have been given from before our birth. We are the children of God, the people created in God’s own image. We only need to live more fully into ourselves to find our glory. This is our heart’s desire. This is our sunbeam.
The other night I heard singer Lucy Kaplansky talk about her daughter Molly’s love of the moon when she was two. Each night they would say goodnight to the moon, until the night when the moon was new and, therefore, invisible. Molly cried and said she missed the moon. Lucy assured here it would be back.
As children, we know what it is to long for something so desperately that our whole body hurts – the return of our parents’ from a night out, the Valentine from the cute kid in our class, the moon that lingers outside our window. We know what we want, until we are taught to want other things – like the Cabbage Patch kid or the Transformers of my childhood. People teach us these things because, well, they can give us a doll or a car when they can’t give us the moon.
Yet, when we begin to settle for anything less than the moon, anything less than the sunbeam that is our own selves, we deprive ourselves of our own joy and glory. We lock ourselves in the closets of our lives and move forward, missing the ray of light shining from our own spirits. We miss out on the hope that is our life. We miss out on God’s glory. That’s enough to make me cry right there.
Please check out more great posts at Andi’s blog, and find out more about her.I’ve also got a post there today about why I feel my life right now is very imbalanced, and how that could possibly be a good thing.
I’ll see you all again Monday, so enjoy your weekend. And find your sun beam.