Sunday, March 17, 2013

Five Meditations: Vagabond (1985)

       1. A piece of life
Agnes Varda finds in film a playground of life.  She seems to have ADHD, unable to focus on anything, insisting upon total freedom of mind and thought.  But she knows what she wants to say and continually returns to the themes she is considering, making a whole.  Her narrative might be difficult to follow, but patience gives one the depth that is found in her films.

At one point a character in her film Vagabond (1985) has a near-death experience and she exclaims, “It is true!  As you are dying you see flashes of your life!”  In a sense, this is exactly what the film Vagabond is: flashes of a life in the midst of death, shown right at the beginning of the film.

It is amazing how much of a single life can be contained in just a two hour period:

Judgment and sympathy
Work and irresponsibility
Love and lust and sex and rape
Fear and comfort
Relating and separtation
Connection and misunderstanding
Pogniancy and laughter
And, of course, sorrow and regret.

In the end, it is very disappointing that all life ends in death.  An anticlimax, really.
The memories we have left in the minds of others is all that is left.

2. Double Helix
Freedom and faithfulness seem to never be found at the same place and time.
We all desire freedom:
Freedom from bosses, from lovers, from commitments, from boredom, from demands
Yet we also need security:
Houses, warmth, peace, safety, regular meals, people we trust

In order to reach a balance of freedom and security, we must have faithfulness:
The keeping of promises
Unspoken agreements
Work for each other
Unbroken trust

Those who deny this balance, who insist on either complete freedom or complete security, are both the object of envy and scorn.

3. Trust
Means being taken advantage of
Means hoping instead of requiring
Means walking away when you want to control
Means allowing another to grow at their own speed
Means relying on God, less so on others

4. Speedy Compassion
“I’m too busy to be compassionate”
Compassion requires less time than consideration
The thought to pick up socks for the needy when buying clothes
The thought to keep breakfast bars in one’s car
The thought to give away clothes instead of throwing
The thought to speak a kind word instead of harsh
The thought to step toward instead of away
The thought to smile and listen instead of turn away and ignore

But speedy compassion changes no one
It is only love in the short term
Opportunity for change only occurs in long words:
(Long in time, not letters)

Opportunity is found in creating new contexts
in which another might thrive.
Opportunity is found in seeing the positive change
  (and diminishing the enduring negatives)
Opportunity is found in the trusting, sacrificial welcome

5.  Lost Hope
There were two characters who could have changed the end of Mona, wanderer, without roof, without law.
One is the Tunisian who truly loved Mona, and gently prodded her to a secure life of work and care.  But his concern about the opinion of others was stronger than his love of this woman.  The shot of his face, deep with regret brought a tear to my eye.

The second is the arborist, the professor, who truly appreciated Mona’s company.  After spending two days with her, appreciating each other’s company, enjoying each other’s vibrancy, the professor dropped Mona off, away from her home.  She could appreciate, but she could not trust.  She also regretted her action, realizing at the end of her life, that this relationship was essential, not passing.

Without trust there is no community.  Without community, there is no life.

If you would like to find out more about Steve's community of the homeless and the mentally ill, check out Nowhere To Lay His Head, the website of Anawim located in Portland, Oregon, USA.

No comments:

Post a Comment