Yesterday afternoon, I read a particularly moving article about returning home, by a national columnist describing his contentment at moving back to his childhood hometown in Louisiana. Afterwards, I lay on my bed reflecting about how lucky I am to live in such a marvelous place—a surreal “dream state,” if ever there was one. Then, I got up and hitched my aggressively amiable pit bull, Scooter—She of the Wagging Tail of Destruction—to her leash and left for a walk around the neighborhood.
I also hitched up my iPod and set it to play some particularly melodic, evocative music—the kind you might hear in the background of a heartwarming montage in a movie. And as I looked at everything and everyone, it was as if I was watching a movie, as if they were all worthy of being commemorated in film.
There was the young family—my neighbors from across the street—walking with their three little children, each moving in a different rhythm and on separate urgent missions as their parents tried with mixed success to keep them herded in the same general direction. The middle-aged hipster couple from around the corner—the woman dressed in a full-length fur coat on a mild 70s day, with a bemused grin on her face (I believe they started their New Year’s Eve celebration a little early). The father and son piling and bagging the last autumn leaves in their yard. My other neighbor from across the street with the two incessantly yappy, scruffy-faced little dogs.
My heart warmed and I smiled as I looked at each one. What winding paths had brought each of them to this particular point, and what roads lay before them? Just one example: it was easy to chuckle at the eccentric neighbor in the fur coat, but I also knew that she had lost her husband quite suddenly a couple of decades ago when she had a houseful of growing children.
We are each of us stars of a movie, by turns comic, tragic, magical, romantic, thrilling. Some of us are even on an epic hero’s journey. We each have a story worth telling, worth remembering, worth celebrating.
Someday soon, plug in your headset and go see the movie down your street, or at the park, or even in the grocery store checkout. I hear it’s a great one. You won’t want to miss it.
Happy New Year.