Sunday, September 4, 2011

Legacy

A Poem by Emily Dickinson
Dex and Emma in a scene from the movie "One Day".

You left me, sweet, two legacies--
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your  consciouness and me.



This is one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson, a poet who says so much in a few words.  She writes small poems with huge meanings.  And she teaches us that life is more complex than we sometimes take the time to realize.  

Oh, the complexities of life!  Love is beautiful and, at the same time, love is painful.  Just one of the paradoxes in life she shows us.  What legacy do we leave in our relationships with others?  It is not an easy answer and not always black and white.   Do we leave boundaries of pain?  Sometimes there is the nuance of the gray area and it's not so easy to asertain truly what legacy of ourselves we are leaving behind for others, especially the ones we love.   This was especially evident in the recent movie, "One Day."

This movie is so sad and tragic that I wasn't able to leave the film feeling good.  It is definitely not a feel good movie.  All I could do was observe and feel the love and the pain of Emma and Dex.  And, that is why I question the legacy that we leave to others.  Will my enduring legacy be one of love or one of pain?    I hope it is the former, but I have the feeling that, inadvertantly, I also may, at times, leave boundaries of pain.

I always believed that each one of us determined our own destiny in life.  It all comes down to choices.  What choices did I consciously make that determined my destiny?  What choices will I make in the future that will further determine my destiny?  This movie got me thinking that it isn't all me or the choices I make that totally determines my destiny in this world.  Sometimes, as I saw with Emma and Dex, there were times when the uncontrollable actions of others, or an answered phone call, or an unanswered phone call, or a late bus, or an early visit, or a missed visit, made all the difference in the outcome of their lives, hence their destinies.  So, there is an element of uncontollable incidents that enters the equasion equaling what our destiny ultimately becomes.  And, I guess my question is again, when we reach that destiny or complete that destiny, have we left a legacy of love or a legacy of pain behind?

 Emma and Dex's friendship and love meanders on a pathway that twists and turns over a time span of twenty years. What ever is going on in their lives, they meet on the same day every year - July 15.  During those twenty years each one consciously makes decisions that affect each one of their lives and also the friendship and love they share.  But, there are those incidents in their lives, uncontrollable by either one of them, that affect their friendship and love and ultimately the ending of the film.  When Emma and Dex reach their final destiny, do they leave a legacy of love or a legacy of pain with one another?    The uplifting moments in the film say that they leave a legacy of love to one another, but the ultimate tragedy of the ending, inadvertently, leaves a legacy of boundaries of pain.  I guess we can never ensure what legacy we truly leave behind to others.  I believe we need to do all we consciously can to be sure to leave legacies of love and rely on faith, may be, to work out the rest.