The convergence of despair and delight

Today, holed up in a chocolate cafe, in equal parts I watch the people walk by the large panoramic window and reflect on a poem by Borges. Some weeks push the envelope… last week my sweet N. went under the knife for a double mastectomy and D. unexpectedly had a stroke Sunday evening. While both carry major gravitas in themselves, coupled they had the power of a tsunami. N’s prognosis felt tied up in D’s and vice-versa. My first thoughts each morning strove to bring their plights once more to the Father. By the end of the week, N. was doing well and D. is stable but still in a coma.

Enter “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Julian Schnabel brings his painter’s eye to the silver screen in a film whose images and lead character enthrall. I loosely understood the premise of the movie: Elle editor sustains health problems and his life is turned upside down but with a hopeful twinge. In actuality, the protagonist brings a profound weight and humor to a situation no one would ever desire. So many times during this movie, I reveled in how humans can be kind and forgiving and wrong and beautiful in their interactions with each other. Insurmountable odds require creativity. When Jean-Do decides he will stop pitying himself, he is released. What this doesn’t mean is that he is always content and happy with his situation. It would be inhuman to not question or begrudge what life may give, but how the human spirit can triumph even in the worst scenarios- this is the crux of the film. Though tethered in body, he is untethered in mind.

I think of Borges’ Shakespeare, a no one in seach of becoming someone. A no one who wears the mantle of everyone and in so doing crafts stories and characters that transcend time and space. With the gravity not usually associated with the word hope, I plant my feet upon it, knowing its paper wings can alight, believing that all will be made new anew.

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