Last night I got an unexpected treat... when dinner plans with a friend fell through, I grabbed the opportunity of already-scheduled-away-time and took myself out to the movies. The salty popcorn, icy soda & an escape to another world is my kind of heaven. I saw a movie called Higher Ground. A slice-of-life, window into the world of a woman on a quest for faith, it is one of those films that has stayed with me throughout the next day. Her journey of salvation found & lost (based on a memoir by Carolyn S. Briggs) and the larger theme of the gap between ideals & reality is what has really stuck with me. I love all sorts of movies, but the kind that make you think & reflect for days afterward are among my favorites.
The main character's quest to feel something real... a tangible connection to something larger than herself... is so beautifully & honestly portrayed. Driving home I couldn't help but think of the moments in my own life when I have felt that kind of connection. Moments brief & fleeting, where a sense of being a small, but important, part of a larger whole, takes over. That elusive place of quiet, still, balance... filled with an overwhelming feeling of "Everything is going to be okay."
The first memory I have of a moment like this is when I was around ten years old. An Alaskan winter day, I remember sledding with my brother in our front yard. The steep, sloping driveway and banks on either side made for a quick, thrilling ride. The air that afternoon was thick with falling snow, an infinite white-gray sky with an endless supply of puffy flakes drifting downward. My brother went inside while I did one last run. At the end of the ride, I rested on my back, cradled in my hard-plastic sled, catching flakes on my tongue & eyelashes. I vividly remember the intense quiet of the moment, looking up at the frosted trees, the chill in the air replaced by an inner warmth throughout my entire body. I remember thinking I could die at that moment & all would be fine - not in a morbid way - but more a feeling of a complete sense of peace. I don't know how long I stayed there... time felt non-linear... like I was briefly connected to something un-namable, un-knowable and yet, somehow, also completely familiar, even to my ten-year-old self.
Other flashes of clarity & well-being followed... seeing my husband for the first time, being at my Grandfather's funeral, holding Quinn three days after his diagnosis with Down syndrome, the first time Remy nursed, a random night driving home by myself with the music blaring & windows open feeling young, alive, free... and a million other fleeting snippets of connectedness, a patchwork of perfect moments that help me find my way through the not-so-perfect ones. My faith might not be grounded in religion or tradition, but it is what keeps me afloat in rougher waters.
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