In terms of trending, I’m usually fashionably late to the party. That explains why I only just this past weekend saw the movie adaptation of John Greene’s “The Fault in Our Stars”. It’s a film I’ll undoubtedly watch again with those I love or prescribe to myself when it’s time to shut down the pathetic pity party for one or simply be nudged back in the direction of eyes wide open to the star-dust origins of every- singular- moment- of life. The film is a testament to the profound capacity that each of has, a hundred times a day, to be balms of Gilead (soothing, healing, relieving) towards those we meet while following our own red string of fate.
For the character Hazel Grace, Augustus Waters was that balm. Likewise, she was his. One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Hazel Grace tells Augustus:
“You gave me a forever within the numbered days.”
Cryogenics aside, from the moment we begin circling the sun, our days are numbered by our own mortality. There are song lyrics to remind us:
“We only got 86 400 seconds in a day
To turn it all around or to throw it all away
Gotta tell ’em that we love ’em while we got the chance to say,
Gotta live like we’re dying”
But to truly be dying, as both Hazel Grace and Augustus were is hugely different. How horribly painful it has to be when a cruel cancer invades one’s cells, establishes fortresses of evil inside them, and uses their life’s blood to feed the insidious monster of death. How horribly painful to be so young and live with the stone cold knowledge that you don’t get a “forever”. You weren’t dealt a “happily ever after” card. If you’re being real, your “dreams for your future” documentary is a “super short”, which technically qualifies you for an Oscar or a Sundance Short Film Jury Award, but in reality clouds each of your days with a pervasive pall.
What a beautiful gift it is to make a connection with another like soul, to have your red string become crossed or tied to theirs and feel more alive than ever before, simply because that person makes you smile or acknowledges/knows your pain. To have them sprinkle the water of life on a previously untouched desert in your heart renders the theoretical construct of time a moot point.
Life brings us moments that feel like an eternity. Seconds of pure hell, gripping our throats in despair, dark nights of the soul. If we’re really lucky it brings us more “ambrosia days”, that seem to carry us on cotton candy clouds through seconds, minutes and hours that are unrecognizable as singular entities because our “forever” takes up residence in its niche in our hearts.
The point of this 3 AM discourse is my belief that we should all do our best to be “those people”. The people who give each other ” a forever within our numbered days”. By doing so, we become living, breathing, balms of Gilead, touchstones of inspiration, a band of brothers and sisters, friends and lovers, fighting the good fight. Together.
Forever is now.
Peace and Love