There’s lots I love about the film, but my favorite part, hands down, is the duet the Captain and Maria sing in the gazebo once they’ve found the strength to admit they love each other.
Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth…
…Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good
And so they sing. Out of the heartbreak and fear they both have known. Out of the sadness they’ve each lived…this moment. This “something good,” that is their life together.
I thought of the Captain and Maria when a friend forwarded an email to me–from Love Does (which, if you aren’t clued into…get on it!). The email held this important reminder, “Like the anger of fire shapes the metal/Like the sorrows of a writer create poetry/Everything that is beautiful does not always start beautifully.” (Noor Unnahar)
Some things do, after all, begin just as beautifully as they become. But what I think is that very little true beauty, very little beauty that’s worth it, comes without some ugliness, some heartache, some downrightgodawfulpain along the way. And it’s more than an ugly ducking becoming a gorgeous swan. It’s more than a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. We know these stories. What we don’t know–or at least sometimes have to learn again–is that on the other side of darkness, light dwells. On the other side of hate, love wins.
It’s so hard to see when we’re in the thick of it. So hard to comprehend in the midst of the pain that somehow life might feel good again one day, that maybe all is not lost and there is still a chance at joy. At love. At belonging. Most days I have to talk myself into it. And that’s okay, talking ourselves into it. That’s part of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s pure grit sometimes and that’s all there is to it. Right?
But here’s the thing–we do not transform without having known pain. We do not become without having been through something significant. We do not grow without having to learn more about who we are–and that sometimes hurts like hell.
(Sidenote: For the love of all that is holy, do not hear me saying that God or whoever causes our pain in order to teach a lesson. That’s utter nonsense at the least and incredibly harmful at worst. No, in our sorrow God sits with us. Constant. Always. In the crap and desperation with us, pointing us towards the light until we’re ready to see it again.)
Because out of the ashes, new things are given life. And out of the despair, hope is born. And in the midst of the darkness, we search for light. This is what it is to be human. To have been so beautifully made. To triumph, as the human spirit so often does, in the midst of the most horrible things.
My heart breaks for so many people and so many things right now. Every day. And there is no way around it. But I also believe with all I am that we only know what it means to be wholehearted once we’ve been fully broken apart. And once we know, once we see what is possible, that’s where beauty is. That’s where epic songs are written and gorgeous stories are shared and twisted, angry metal becomes something lovely to behold.
I can’t quantify it for you. I can’t tell you when or how. And the truth is, so much of what matters most in life can’t be fully measured or known or described. But I know it’s true. And today, knowing that there’s so much pain in the world, and in so many of your lives, my hope is you, too, will know it’s true. Deep in your bones. Something good is possible. Something beautiful can still be made. In spite of–and perhaps, even, because of, in ways we might not ever understand–what has been.