I recently saw the Hawking movie. It is a romantic biographical rendering, beautifully documenting parts of Stephen Hawking’s early professional and family life. I saw this wonder by myself in a sparce afternoon matinee in Park City, Utah. This was part of an aimless, self-directed recovery plan. I was going a bit stir crazy, and could NO LONGER attend the (Rated R), (RESTRICTED) Home-making version of myself, dumpy, sedentary still-life version of recovery…ha ha…Mostly, I hoped to be inspired at the cinema.
Sadly at times, I find that my laughter is too much for others, stretching limits, not to mention my own sutures. And while I often seek to be kept in stitches, and believe whole heartedly that laughter is good medicine, recently it has not been what the doctor ordered. So, while I desire it, laughing kinda hurts, because I employ a pretty healthy belly laugh and become very animated! Ouch!
SO I spared myself the pain, in choosing prevention, over foolishness, and in selecting sad inspirational over other higher comedy. In short, I preserved. Simply escaping home alone was…WONDERFUL!!!! and liberating, and not in the least bit lonely going stag. By the time the lights came up again, I had succeeded in crying a river, and obliterating my lovelier make-up face toward hormone thereapeutic. I had also learned a thing or two about an amazing scientist and his incredible iron will to live. In choosing life he went on to contribute additional gifts of intellect only he possesses. 🙂
In my soft plush high-back seat, on this perfectly situated row, I sat alone with Starbucks. Only a seat hop away, there rested another unaccompanied man, and in time….a few more seats from him, another loner. I watched the man nearest me ignore a “Turn off you cell phone” petiton of dancing M&Ms, in exchange for several rounds of focused Saduko. Numbers, numbers, numbers, as infinite as the stars! Much like the never ending order up of leading men and ladies in almost endless, over-stimulating movie trailers. One or two previews suffice for me…AND…If I had sat one more seat over, I could have pretended Saduko and I were together. I did not.
Then I did the math as another more portly man appeared giving our row the size up, and nursing a sugarly soda,while juggling extra buttery popcorn. He was unaccompanied, if concessions don’t count. The fact that there were not more than eight or ten people present, including a few retired couples, and a couple of lift ticket tourists, made it fairly easy to relax into POLITE AND NO TALKING……..Silence….. something I typically struggle with when I have a captive family audience.
One of the themes of this cinematic wonder was that of overcoming our own lonely trials. Even in being surrounded in a huge assembly, or sharing a common experience together in being one with our most intimate partners, there are still those silent, tumultuous times, when it is only ourselves inside our head. In this self-imposed lonliness we are sometimes visited by our greatest fears and sorrows.
Hawkings early fear of physical loss was depicted in an amazingly dramatic solo bathtub scene. We were given a shot of his wet haunched back. Perspective panned to an up close of face and arm. Try as he did, he could not move his fingers to make a fist, or relax them into normal, and outstretched. He could only manage a sad, seized, contortion. I cried for him.
Again and again, we saw his decline, as he faced physical disappoitment, loss of faculties, and the frustration that came with this. One poignant scene showed Stephen as a young father in a moment of realization, when met with undesired motor-neural struggling at the evening meal. He quietly lowerd a wine glass, and left his seating. Then he difficultly attempted scaling the #5 flat, staircase. I cried as Stephen strained atrophied muscles while he looked up at a confused, toddling son. Robby was only feet away, perched on a landing behind a babysafe stair gate. Stephen, may as well have been miles away, unable to climb up to his child. Heart wrenching also was the reality that he was barely understandable in consoling the small one. This was a difficult thing for me to see.
I started realizing how ungrateful and impatient I often am. This with my own ridiculous temporary condition. Sometimes I am short with my family, in our brief interaction. At times this happens with teen girls, who don’t think Mom has anything worthy of their hearing or even response. This was a humbling realization, and motivation for me to keep trying in my own realm, as I can.
Toward the end of the movie, we movie goers shared in a celebratory lecture series somewhere 80s in America. There was a Q & A segment. Controlled questions were offered by a select few from the audience. One question raised went something like this:
Do you have a life philosophy that helps you get through each day? If so, what is it?
I instantly thought of philosophies I have come to accept and expirament upon in the form of a Merciful loving God, and Grace giving Jesus; also in the Law of Attraction, Positivity and Love. Then I snapped back to viewing and listening to those on the BIG SCREEN.
In this moment, I observed how Hawking spaced off and drifted to focusing on a young woman, who, mid-sentence the questioner, dropped a ballpoint pen. The scene went to slow-motion, and in Hawking’s mind he left a paralyzed riddled body, stood up, and took steps away from his wheelchair. Then he advanced, knelt down, and fully and ably reached and recovered the dropped pen. This he handed with ease to the beautiful young college student. In this moment I believe Hawking made a connection between the miracle of his imagining and the reality of his life course. He thought of HOPE.
In this moment in Hawking’s head, we were able to see how visualization works. This affirmed in my own mind that imagination is powerful. Imagination is largely an untapped Universe of the mind only recently becoming subject to increasing attention in the field of brain science, sports performance, buisiness, and education. More and more, one is finding such writing on display at coffee shop book stores and online shopping…even teacher workroom counters! A recent audio rereading of Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine, evidenced this to me. The imagination is the new frontier and endless in creative potential and inventiveness.
So, as I was watching this particular movie scene unfold, I kind of intuited some things, in realizing that the post lecture question was supplying a neural pathway for Hawking. This toward a response that would produce something of a BIG BANG introspection. Hawking’s imaginings sought and consequentially supplied an answer to appease onlookers, just short of a unifying equation gifting…..of HOPE. Just prior, to reaching this answer, there was a considerable wait time and processing, such that the questioner became uncomfortable enough to feel the need to repeat the question. Perhaps he wondered if the question had been heard by the Professor at all.
Then Doctor Hawking answered:
“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
HOPE! This was Hawking’s answer. In essence…one unifying equation, more accessible, and usable than anything quantum or physics. HOPE!
I also suspect HUMOR unmistakenly figured into the scientist’s views of human perseverance and potential as well, because he continually modeled the strategy. He likely pondered light things in those few moments before, then understood the moment and delivery required more in seriousness, than in comedic. This was intentional, I am sure. I say this because I think he sensed this was a discerning, quote making moment requiring soberness. The quick, humorous one liner would not suffice this time.
Still, the movie succeeded in spotlighting Hawking’s wit and skill in using comic relief to decompress difficult situations. He possessed an unmatchable, uncanny, perfect timing and ability to give an audience what they wanted, scientific or otherwise. Amazing!
As credit’s rolled, and teen employees collected sticky soda cups, and began to rollersweep scattered, tracked on popcorn from aisles and hall carpets, I left the theater feeling inspired. I egressed with more, not less, in thinking Stephen Hawking an incredible brilliant individual and overcomer. I also thought I should probably check out his book, A Brief History of Time, from the county library, and give it a go!
Furthermore, I EXITed feeling more committed to giving the gifts of HOPE, Love, and Empathy. There are countless individuals in the human family that need to hear assurance that “They are not alone.” Life is too short to hold back what should be shared for the good of others, because there is hope and oneness in being together in smiles, and laughter, in learning, and sometimes even through tears.
At times, all it takes from others we seek love from is to be met with a smile, or to hear a few caring words, to know that there are those who do Love, and believe in us. Speaks to human potential and abundance. Love makes enduring life’s trials somehow more doable. I enjoyed going to that movie, so much, that I went again in a day or two, knowing I would have something to say about it, or rather to write about. The second TIME, I took my sister. I talked more, and I cried less.
We are very very small. But we are profoundly capable of very very big things.