Home Page

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Collection of Wise Words

In the TV miniseries "Taken", the character of Allie Keys (played by Dakota Fanning) is eight years old. Allie comes from a long line of alien abductees both on her mother's side, as well as her father's. The unique thing about Allie is the way she was concieved - both parents were 'taken' at the same time on the same day, though they had never met prior to the abduction. And it was during this abduction, that Allie was conceived.

If you haven't seen this Spielberg series from 2002, it is worth a 'wee shooftie' (a little look) as my dad used to say.

One of the most amazing things to come out of it are the words spoken by Allie Keys as the narrator (credit the writer Leslie Bohem). Imagine them, if you will, voiced by an eight year-old girl.

My mom told me once that when you're afraid of something, what you want more than anything else is to make it go away. You want your life back to the way it was before you found out that there was something to be afraid of. You want to build a high wall and live your old life behind it. But nothing ever stays the same. That's not your old life at all. That's your new life with a wall around it. Your choice is not about going back to the way things were. Your choice is about hiding, or about going right to the heart of the thing that scares you.

Sometimes the best way to move into the unknown is to take familiar steps, small steps. To do ordinary things to deal with something that is in no way ordinary. We're always going someplace new, all the time. Familiar things just let us pretend that we aren't moving into unfamiliar territory. You take those small familiar steps, and you try to be honest, not to live as if nothing had changed, but still to go on with your life. But there are times when what you need is a piece of how things used to be.

My grandfather used to tell my mom that kids should never have to worry about anything more serious than baseball. Everything you need to know is there. It has success and failure, moments when you come together and moments where you stand alone. And it has an ending. Not a clock, like in other sports, but an ending. And that, my grandfather said to my mom, is as close as a kid should have to come to that sort of thing.

People talk a lot as if the most important thing in life is to always see things for what they really are. But everything we do, every plan we make, is kind of a lie. We're closing our eyes and pretending that the day won't ever come when we won't need to make any more plans.

Hope is the biggest lie there is, and it is the best. We have to keep going as if it all mattered, or else we wouldn't keep going at all.

People say that when we grow up, we kick at everything we've been told, we rebel against the world our parents worked so hard to bring us into, that part of growing up is kicking at the ties that bind. But I don't think that's why we kick at all. I think we kick when we find out that our parents don't know much more about the world than we do. They don't have all the answers. We rebel when we find out that they've been lying to us all along, that there isn't any Santa Claus at all.

Is every moment of our lives built into us before we're born? If it is, does that make us less responsible for the things we do? Or is the responsibility built in too? After you hit the ball, do you stand and wait to see if it goes out, or do you start running and let nature take its course?

What makes a man who he is? Is it the worst things he's ever done, or the best things he wants to be? When you find yourself in the middle of your life and you're nowhere near of where you were going, how do you find the way from the person you've become to the one you know you could have been?

My mother always talked to me a lot about the sky. She liked to watch the clouds in the day, and the stars at night... especially the stars. We would play a game sometimes, a game called, what's beyond the sky. We would imagine darkness, or a blinding light, or something else that we didn't know how to name. But of course, that was just a game. There's nothing beyond the sky. The sky just is, and it goes on and on, and we'll play all of our games beneath it.

Most people change kind of slowly. They're who they are and then after a while, they're someone else. But some people know the exact moment where their lives changed. They saw the person they were going to marry or the look in their baby's eyes the first time he smiled. For some people, it's not the good things in life that made them change. It's something they've gone through that makes everything they look at from that moment on seem very different from how it had always been.

People are lonely in this world for lots of different reasons. Some people have something in their disposition. Maybe they were just born too mean, or maybe they were born too tender. But most people are brought to where they are by circumstance, by calamity or a broken heart or something else happening in their lives that wasn't anything they planned on. People are lonely in this world for lots of different reasons. The one thing that I do know is, it doesn't matter what any one of them might tell you--nobody wants to be alone.

Some people have given up all hope of anything in their lives ever changing. They just go on with it day by day, and if something were to come along and make things different, they probably wouldn't even notice it right off, except for that kind of nervous feeling you get in your stomach. My mom and I used to call that "the car trip feeling," because it was how I'd feel whenever I knew we were going to go somewhere far away or somewhere new.

There are times when it seems like the whole world is afraid...when the fear is something you have to live with day in day out. When people get scared, they do a lot of different things. They fight, or they run, they destroy the thing they're afraid of, or they put a lot of distance between it and them.

Why do people want so desperately not to be alone? Why is it more comforting to think you are being watched than to know that no one at all is watching? And why, really, does that make us any less alone? In the end, if there are others out there, then wouldn't we be, all of us, still alone together?

People like to examine the things that frighten them, to look at them and give them names, so saints look for God, and scientists look for evidence. They're both just trying to take away the mystery, to take away the fear.

We all like to think that we have some control over the events in our lives, and a lot of the time we can fool ourselves into thinking that we really are in charge. But then something happens to remind us that the world runs by its own rules and not ours and that we're just along for the ride.

The world is made up of the big things that happen and the small ones. And the part that's so unfair is that we call them "big" and "small", because when something happens to you, when you lose something or someone that you really care about, that's all there is. The world may be blowing up around you, but you don't care about that. You don't care about that at all.

We're all standing on the edge of a cliff, all the time, every day, a cliff we're all going over. Our choice isn't about that. Our choice is about whether we want to go kicking and screaming or whether we might want to open our eyes and our hearts to what happens once we start to fall.

I think when you're older, what gets hard is that you forget how to take things as they come. And sometimes, the things that do come are more than anyone should have to take.

*Everyone knows not to stare into the sun. It’s something your mother tells you when you’re a kid, “Don’t stare at the sun, or you’ll go blind”. But sometimes you want to understand something so badly, that you’ll risk going blind for just a glimpse of what it might all be about.

People come home for a lot of reasons. They come home to remember, they come home because they've got no place else to go, they come home when they're beaten, they come home when they're proud. They come looking for a door out into their past, or a road out into their future. They come home for a lot of reasons. But they always come home to say goodbye.

Some people put a lot of work into their lawn, as if a patch of green grass was the most important thing in the world. As if they thought that as long as the lawn out front was green and mowed and beautiful, it wouldn't matter at all what was going on inside of the house.

Do you know the feeling of daring yourself to walk across a dark room? That way you're excited, because you know, you really do know that there's nothing there to hurt you. Some people get to chose their dark rooms. They get to look for places where the fear is only skin deep, but some people are nowhere near that lucky.

*Some people spend their lives hoping for something to happen that will change everything. They look for power or love, or the answers to their biggest questions. I think really what they're looking for is another chance. Some way to lead another life where all the mistakes they've made would be erased, and they could just start over, nothing bad has happened yet, and all their possibilities are still in front of them.

People move through their lives sometimes without really thinking about where they're going. Days pile up, and they get sadder and lonelier without really knowing why they're so sad, or how they got so lonely. Then something happens. They meet someone who looks a certain way, or has something in their smile. Maybe that's all that falling in love is: finding someone who makes you feel a little less alone.

Life, all life, is about asking questions, not about knowing answers.

*How do you let someone go? How do you understand that that's alright, that everything changes? How do you find a way for that to make you feel good about life, instead of breaking your heart? The hardest thing you'll ever learn, is how to say goodbye.



Sunny Delight said...

Oh I remember this leaving me spellbound....and Bohem's ability to capture so much that is the truth of our lives. Thank you so much for posting this, it is so much a part of what being human is all about.

Fiona said...

I had it on DVD (probably been passed down the line by now) and watched it through in two days.

Bohem's words through Allie are so amazing. Spoken in child-like innocence and uncomplicated yet so incisive.

Fusion said...

But some people know the exact moment where their lives changed. And for some, it's not the good things in life that made them change. It's something they've gone through that makes everything they look at from that moment on seem very different from how it had always been.

This is totally me. I wrote a comment earlier today talking about how I feel I've turned around 180 degrees since my wife died. My thoughts, opinions, and the way I want to live the rest of my life have all changed, and are still changing. It amazes me every day, and I wonder what is still to come.
Thanks for posting this Fiona, it's words should give everyone something to think about.

Fiona said...

I had an 'exact moment' a few years back. And it's true, it wasn't from a good thing happening.

But wow, the clarity that those exact moments bring, is really quite amazing.

I'm glad that you have enjoyed this post, Fusion. Thank you.

freebird said...

B*****!!! You've made me cry!
And I've got to speak to a client in two minutes!

Fiona said...

*hands you a tissue*

It's even more powerful when you hear those words spoken by such a young, beautiful voice!!

IVY said...

Thanks. For this. For making me feel lighter somehow. For addressing a problem so troublesome and close to home I didn't even know I had it- like a virus inside my immune system- until I read your words.


free html hit counter