I like weird movies. Weird and sometimes obscure movies. Sure, I watch a summer blockbuster along with everyone else now and again but I gravitate towards arthouse and more independent movies (the type of movies where you have to be either completely drunk or completely sober to enjoy them- there is no in between. Your brain has to be all in or all out.) Anyways, I saw a doozy last night titled The Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life is written and directed by Terrence Malick, a reclusive director who is obsessed with nature and intense imagery. The posters for this movie might be a little misleading for some people because both Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star in this film. This movie audaciously seeks to answer questions about life, loss and even God. In the midst of these epic questions, I was struck as a father by the character Brad Pitt played. In many ways, he is me (please refrain from snickering at this point. I am not saying I look like Brad Pitt. I’m saying his character and my character are similar. Anyways- I am certain my wife finds me more attractive than Brad Pitt. So there!). He is all middle-class American men. He was a bit overly-firm, he contemplated his existence and worth, he loved his children well on some days and did a pretty crappy job on other days.
As I began to align myself with this father character, I was smacked in the face by one scene. This father, this everyman, utters this simple phrase, “I almost missed the glory.” This scene probably came three quarters of the way through this film as we had watched, in sometimes tedious detail, the lives of this family unfolding. We saw birthday parties and backyard water fights and bike rides and adventures in the tree house and simple games of tag. With all of this in mind, this father begins to contemplate his life and his lack of accomplishments and the glory the world had to offer and he utters that phrase, “ I almost missed the glory.”
As I thought about this phrase, I began to realize what it meant. This father had finally taken time to slow down and he looked at what seemed like the monotony of everyday family living with its highs and lows, its adventures and its boredoms and in a moment of glorious revalation, he realized how great it all was, and says, “I almost missed the glory.” This smacked me in the face. As Casey and I have gotten in to the tedium of daily parenting with its schedules and bottles, its cries and its diapers, its joy and its pain, I realized, if I am not careful, I too might miss the glory. The glory of life. It cannot be found in what I can buy, consume, or achieve. The glory resides under my roof. The glory is often found in the tedious and monotonous moments we face. It happens everyday all day and if I am not careful, I might just miss it.
I highly encourage a date night to go see Tree of Life. All that is required is some patience and a few martinis, and I guess a babysitter too. Sometimes, a night watching the beauty and majesty of another’s life in fast forward is all you need to realize how precious and glorious every moment is with your loved ones. Don’t miss the glory this week.