Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Does the Music Do To You?

This is what this music has done.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from the Bourne films: “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum.” Over and over as I work. And as I hear the music, I become aware of longing.

Jason Bourne, in all three films, is moved by a longing to find out who he is. In the first film, we see him floating in the sea, rescued by fishermen. When he awakens, he does not know who he is. He spends three movies searching for his true identity.

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves,” writes Francois de La Rochefoucauld.

As I listen, this question comes up from the deep: Who were you before people began censoring you?

Scenes come to mind. A little girl who loved to dance and sing. A bold girl who organized the neighborhood kids to stage theater productions and talent shows. An adventurous girl who took off on her bicycle alone to explore the parts of town and other towns where nobody ever took her. An exuberant girl who loved sitting in the bow of the boat where the wind and waves splashed her face and tangled her hair. A girl who climbed trees, wrote songs, loved books.

And a scene. There she is, in the empty lot of a run-down housing development. Singing a made-up song, singing with all her heart, dancing furiously, dancing with her shadow. Then another shadow enters, with sneering laughter.

Then the voices. “Shut-up, Luanne, you can’t sing!” “Where were you? You were gone too long on your bicycle.” “Look at her, she thinks she’s so smart.” “Nice girls don’t sit like that.”

“Dancing was barely tolerated, if at all, so they danced in the forest where no one could see them, or in the basement, or on the way out to empty the trash” (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Women Who Run with the Wolves”).

When did the self-consciousness set in? The shame (there’s that subject again) of the genuine self? And, most important of all, where did that girl go? How do I find her?

Jason Bourne had been trained and conditioned to become an identity that was totally antithetical to his true self. When he tried to find his true self, people felt so threatened that they tried, over and over again, to kill him.

How about you? How about you?

“I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus says in John 10:10. A woman came into the dinner party where he was the guest of honor. The story is in Luke 7. She was not invited. The important men whispered behind their hands as she made her way toward Jesus. She was a “bad” woman.

Too often we take our cues from the people around us. “We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves to be like other people,” Arthur Schopenhauer writes.

This woman would have none of it. She kept right on to Jesus. Jesus reprimanded the crowd. “Do you see this woman?” he asked. Jesus alone saw her true identity. He alone knew her. Because of this, she wept, wiping his feet with her tears.

This is what Jesus is like. Don’t confuse Jesus with the religion of Christianity. Religion restricts, binds, puts its demands on us, makes rules.

And priests in black gowns were making their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
(from “The Garden of Love” by William Blake)

Jesus came to set us free. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” Jesus said in John 8:32.

Look at Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, two women who really don’t give a flip what you think of them. They are who they are. I say “Yay!” for both of them. There’s Hillary this week, smiling and waving in Moscow. There’s Sarah this week, heading to Michigan to speak at a prosperity summit.

In the films, there is Jason Bourne, running down back alleys, across rooftops, through crowded train stations, fighting off attackers, doing whatever he has to do to stay alive, to find someone who knows him, the One who can tell him who he really is.

The Bourne music, right now, knows where I am and what I need. “The eternal echoing of music reclaims us for awhile for our true longing,” writes John O’Donohue.

What music does this in you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...