I just got out of a movie...
Movies move me. Like that little mantra? I thought so.
I don't know where the word movie came from--who dreamt it up--but it's a great root word for what happens when you're watching one. I don't really care what movie I'm in, I can always--ok, almost always--find something that moves me. The silver screen dances with images and orchestration that drills into your core and starts causing muscles to tighten and senses to heighten. Movies. Movement. Moving. Very, very moving.
I guess it comes down to story now, doesn't it? Story is that transcendent language that unites all tribes and tongues, cultures and creeds...and effortlessly braids them together with the ubiquitous and universal rhythms of the heart. I don't even need dialogue sometimes to be moved to tears. I know exactly what is going on. I don't need music to soften the images, the orchestra is inside my head tracking every nuance and lacing every suspenseful shift. Story seeps into cracks too small from any other intruder. It climbs the highest walls around the human heart and penetrates the most impregnable scar tissue protecting the soul. Story asks questions that you never get asked by other humans. Questions like, "What do you really, really want?" and "What's your greatest fear?" and "Why are you hiding that?" and "Do you wonder when you're going to get over that?" It also answers questions that are laying on the floor of your heart, ineffable. "What you just saw is who you are." "The tears are streaming down your face because that phrase is your purpose." "That is the love you are looking for." "You are made of that kind of nobility."
Story unlocks and unpacks hurt. It is the WD40 for what binds up your spirit. It bestows a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness for despair, the cloak of thanksgiving for depression. Story replaces prosaic with mosaic. Data with drama. Because we aren't meant to live in statistics, we're meant to live in story.
Movies take us out of problem-solving and trouble-shooting and remind us that we mean more than that. They remind us that we are in a story, we are a story. They help us to look at ourselves and those we live with as characters in the great story of life. Instead of schedules and structures and systems, we reunite with the natural ingredients of story...things like plot and characters. When you look at life through this lens, animation occurs, life actually lives.
Story is a basic need in our survival. I love what Reynolds Price says about the intrinsic nature of stories..."A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo sapiens--second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, for the small accounts of our day's events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths." I couldn't agree more, though life without love seems equally perilous.
That is why movies are not so much an escape as an escapade. I'm sure some only experience a vicarious and virtual set of moments which is most definitely a soul-digression. But I, myself, find a tuning of sorts, a refining of the real, a brush up against Eden. I feel God's mouth wrapped around mine breathing meaning into the dust of my futility. I am reminded of my origin and my destiny concurrently. Movies are cathartic and therapeutic. Cleansing and Filling.
So I walked into a movie today story-starved and left story-saturated. I felt as though an IV was stabbed into my soul nourishing me with a drip of the divine.
Here is stand, I can do no other. God help me.