Lessons from the movies II
Last night I watched the movie Click, starring Adam Sandler and Kate Beckinsale, on DVD. It is about a man who receives a magical universal remote control which enables him to flash back, stop and fast forward through time. He uses it to skip past moments in life that he finds mundane or annoying. He can mute the bark of the family dog, “pause” everything and fast forward through an argument with his wife. Sandler’s character is soon corrupted by the sheer power of the control and before long he can’t stop the remote from selecting what and when he will fast-forward with unexpected consequences, which I won’t spoil for those of you who have yet to see it.
While the movie is standard Sandler light-hearted fare, it got me thinking at a deeper level about life’s moments and how every moment is no less important than another. If I had been offered this magical clicker at various times in my life when the pain of some trauma has threatened to overwhelm me, I would have been very tempted to use it to fast forward over the pain. And looking back on times when I was happiest in my life, I would love the opportunity to rewind and go back to those times and places. I am sure you have felt like this too.
But think about it for a moment – isn’t our pain and suffering part of what makes us human? I know it is part of what makes me empathetic to the pain of others and willing to listen and help however I can. If I had the ability to fast forward through those times of my own pain, I would never be able to do that for others. How could I? And if I never made mistakes or experienced bad times, how would I ever learn? I love this quote from Helen Keller on character – “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved”. If we had that magical remote control, I doubt if we would ever be capable of developing that strength of character, empathy and love which the world needs.