Yesterday’s weather (“I’m going to rain, I promise – see my dark clouds? I can do it dammit! I’m going to rain!!”) gave me permission to go to a Jean-Luc Godard double feature. Four hours of French. By the end I wanted to send a box of chocolates and a note to Godard saying, “I’m sorry you feel this way, but why make us feel this way too? Please eat this box of chocolates in one sitting.” In My Life to Live, the star, Anna Karina, is in a movie theater watching another star, Maria Falconetti, in The Passion of Joan of Arc. There seems to be a dialogue of gazes between them. Suddenly, they are both weeping. They have given one another their grief. It is both selfless and selfish. It is the humble majesty of movies.
The movie theater is a holy place to me. It is this blob of blackness that you can absorb into. It doesn’t just allow you, it accepts you. And it doesn’t matter if you dress like a member of KISS, or breathe too loud or have never read anything by Hemingway. It just wants to tell you a story. No, it wants you to find yourself in a story.
Churches should be that way too. Mine is. It’s a church that meets inside a movie theater. This morning we sang a song that went: “hold the door for me, because I’m right behind You, I’m following where You lead.” When we stopped, I felt as though my cells had dissolved. Everything was going through me, and I couldn’t, didn’t want to, hold on to any of it. I was separate, but sensing it all. Rejoicing in the wholeness of the moment, not held hostage by the possibilities of the future…like watching a movie.