Raise your hands if some piece of art, be it film, poem, song, documentary, painting, or hell, even an interpretive dance, ever made you stop, gasp silently to yourself, and think “Damn.” Hopefully almost all of you have your hands up, if not, I have failed you in so many ways it’s silly. Nevertheless, three little pieces of art did precisely that to me over the last year, all in different ways, but all oddly aimed in the almost exact same direction.
I finally got around to watching the unbelievably thorough documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” and while I’ve never been the biggest Beatles fan in all the land, I was blown away by the peek behind the curtain that was afforded. As someone who creates on a daily basis and has answered about six hundred dozen questions about my own creative process, it was really unique and beautiful to watch people, at the top of their game, doing exactly that…create. The whole theory I’ve long held about being a conduit, not a conductor, seemed to be on full display, as some of the songs just seemed to pass through them, to be channeled out as though they had nothing at all to do but translate the words and melodies from the universe itself.
One thing, however, stuck with me more than any other thing when I watched the final scenes, one truth louder than all the rest when I watched the rooftop concert that closed out the film:
We never, ever, ever, know when the thing we’re doing will be the last time we do it. We never remember, that every single moment could be our last.
After that rooftop show, the Beatles never again performed together in public. Tomorrow, exactly tomorrow, it will have been 54 years ago to the day they performed that show, the last show, and it broke my heart after watching the entire documentary, to realize that all that time they spent in the studios creating, they had no idea they’d never do it again. Biggest band of all time, and they never saw the end coming, not really. Maybe I’m sappy, maybe I’m over-emotional, but something about this undid me, and broke my heart into pieces. All that, and as I said, I was never even a huge Beatles fan.
It’s the implications, to me, it’s the repercussions of the endings in our life that we don’t see coming, that rattled me.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, and another two films shook the bones of me, and when bones shake, tears fall. Lady G and I finally got around to watching “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and I can make this statement without hyperbole: They just may be the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Yes, honestly.
I won’t spoil the films for anyone, as I absolutely implore that you all go watch them if you’ve not seen them yet, but what I will speak to is the effect on me those movies had that felt like a continuation of the emotional spiral after I watched the Beatles flick. Basically they were these:
We must cherish every single moment in these crazy, silly, beautiful, painful, haunting, hilarious, sorrow-soaked-joy-stained-nonsensical-farces we call life.
We never know the last time we’ll work with someone, hug them, see the colors of their soul. We never know when tomorrow ain’t coming, and when today will be the last of days. All we can do, is do our best, and hope that when the end does come, we don’t meet it with a heart swollen and bursting with regrets or un-said words, love not given away, kindness not granted for no other reason than that’s what kindness is for.
Which is exactly where Banshees hit home the hardest. There’s a scene in the pub where Colin Farrell’s character has a monologue that is so fantastically and heartbreakingly beautiful I can’t even type about it without tearing up. It’s about that kindness, and it’s about how it’s a wonderful thing to be a kind person, simple as that sounds. The film unnerved me, it has stuck with me, and it’s not going anywhere soon.
The cumulative effect of all three of these films was profound, and they all spoke the same message. Life is short, time is fleeting, and we never know when we’re out of time. We cannot control anything, save that we can truly cherish every moment we’ve given, and we can be the kindest versions of ourselves as we possibly can, as long as we possibly are able. There is nothing more.
Life is a billion tiny details, and we’re here to notice and adore them all. What would happen if we all understood this, let it sink into the center of ourselves, and started acting that way?
Cherish these moments
breathe deep each tiny detail,
they may be the last.