For the longest time I have carried it around. Heavy, uncomfortable and ugly. The past. I do not wish to portray my past as this deep dark path of treachery and deceit – it wasn’t. I have enjoyed truly beautiful moments along the way. Memories that STILL bring a smile to my face even just to think of them. However, for far too long those moment have been overshadowed by the heavy ugly.
I recently posted on my facebook page a scene from the 1986 film The Mission, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. In the film De Niro plays mercenary and slaver, Rodrigo Mendoza, “who makes his living kidnapping natives and selling them to nearby plantations. He cares both for his younger brother Felipe and his fiancee Carlotta. Carlotta reveals she has fallen in love with Felipe. Mendoza subsequently finds them in bed together. In his anger he kills Felipe in a duel. Acquitted of the killing, Mendoza spirals into depression. Father Gabriel, who has temporarily returned from his mission and learned of Mendoza’s situation, visits and challenges Mendoza to undertake a suitable penance.”
“Mendoza accompanies the Jesuits on their return journey, doggedly pulling a bundle filled with weapons as the party scales the Iguazu Falls. After Mendoza collapses, one of the Jesuit priests, Fielding (played by Liam Neeson) cuts away the bundle. Mendoza recovers and re-ties the bundle, resuming the grueling journey. Fielding discusses with Father Gabriel that he and the others believe Mendoza has suffered enough, but Father Gabriel replies that only God and Mendoza may decide that. When they reach the Guaraní camp, a member of the tribe cuts the ropes of Mendoza’s burden. Symbolically absolved of his brother’s murder and his past transgressions against the Guaraní, Mendoza weeps and then begins to laugh.”
(To watch the scene go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-BWwuEYFO4&feature=related)
I remember when I first watched the film this scene, more than any other, stood out. This was the beginning of my being able to see symbolism in film and music. The image of carrying the heavy burden to the top of a precipice and then having hat burden cut loose speaks volumes. The past is dust, the future does not yet exist… there is only now.
I know this, I do. I have for a long while. You have to understand, this isn’t my first rodeo. I have been reading and re-reading books on this very concept for years. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it. I still don’t. But, I am closer. I can feel my shoulders loosening and I am able to hold my head a bit higher. However, the heavy ugly still clings to me and tries to make me believe it defines me. It interrupts me when I am being social, and cause me to apologize for me being me. It taints my interactions and makes me believe in every negative scenario I imagine. It makes me lower my head and hide in corners, believing full well I am unwelcome and unwanted. Hated. And, all the while… the voices that are telling me these things are my own.
So, how do I do it? Seriously, how do I let go of the heavy ugly? Where is my indigenous tribe to cut the heavy ugly from my back and kick it over the side so I can laugh and cry at the redemption I have received?
That’s the problem, isn’t it? I am looking for the external validation – and that will never solve the real problem. It has to come from me. Silently and wholly my own. With no need of anyone seeing it happen, or recognizing that it has. It’s mine to do – alone.
Well, better start my climb.