Palm open, fingers outstretched.

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

One of the very first film scripts I ever wrote contained the following exchange between a twelve year-old son (Christopher) and his father (Aaron):

AARON: Open your hand.

Aaron places a stone into Christopher’s palm; its smooth, sanded granite.

CHRISTOPHER: (confused) It’s a rock.

AARON: No. It’s your ability to love.

Christopher looks up.

AARON: Given to you at birth. Yours to offer up to others. You’ll say, “Look at this. Isn’t it something. Take it. Hold it.” Some will treasure it. Most will abuse it. They’ll scratch it or bust off a chunk. They’ll take another’s stone without ever telling and then they’ll cast yours aside. And each time you get hurt, you’ll naturally want to share it less and you might even be tempted to ball your hand  into a fist and lock it away for good. Don’t do that, Christopher. That’s death.

CHRISTOPHER: Death?

AARON: Close your palm up and you’re no longer living.

Aaron spreads Christopher’s fingers.

AARON: This is how you live your life. Palm open, fingers outstretched.

I dig out this scene, first because it means a great deal to me… I happen to believe the above sentiments and have tried to live my life as such (surely failing infinitely more times than I’ve succeeded)… and second because it is why I reject what has become the closing argument for many of those who caution against Barack Obama’s candidacy.

This argument is simply…

               “Don’t be inspired. Don’t be fooled. You’re setting yourself up to be hurt.”

He’s just another politician… all he offers is rhetoric… speeches are just words…

               “Don’t be inspired. Don’t be fooled. You’re setting yourself up to be hurt.”

Use your inside voice… stop with the music videos… “cult of personality”…

                “Don’t be inspired. Don’t be fooled. You’re setting yourself up to be hurt.”

The idea is that those inspired are simply expecting too much, projecting our hopes and dreams onto a flesh and blood human who will ultimately come up woefully short and crush us all in the process.

And to this I say… yes, we are.

Will we be disappointed… yes, we will.

Will a President Obama come up short… of course, he will.

Is he just a a man… just a politician… an utterly fallible one of us… yes, yes, yes.

It is not DESPITE the above, but IN FULL UNDERSTANDING that I find myself compelled to wish and wonder, because living… real living… in a human or romantic or even political sense… is not about removing risk and pain from one’s lives, but instead accepting that risk and pain as an unavoidable byproduct of existence and, in so doing, opening oneself up to the possibility that something remarkable might happen anyway.

You see nothing glorious and unexpected is ever handed to those with clenched fists; to those who rightfully, understandably, justifiably, and yet to their own detriment, try and avoid let down by rejecting the very prospect.

That’s the definition of death… or at least death of the soul.

And its important to me that no one equates the above with the suggestion that voting for Hillary Clinton is death.

There are many, many people who are inspired by HER in the same way that I am inspired by Barack Obama.

I’m only talking about those who discount EITHER candidacy based simply on the concept that enthusiasm and passion are inherently foolish and misguided.

Enthusiasm and passion are simply the external signs of faith.

Not faith a God, but faith in self; faith that its possible to endure what might feel like unending disappointment and yet still open one’s palm, outstretch one’s fingers and offer up hope.

11 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. …which is a day for lofty thoughts.

  2. You just made me cry…and made my day. THANK YOU!!!

    • Alma on April 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Palm open, fingers outstretched would be about getting ready for your computer mouse to blog.

    You really surprised me.  Its beautiful Jeffrey.

    • kj on April 13, 2008 at 8:21 pm
    • RiaD on April 13, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    you are so very very correct….your dialog between father & son…O! how i wish someone/ANYone had had that conversation with me when i was a child….

    and this…

    It is not DESPITE the above ideas, but IN FULL UNDERSTANDING that I find myself compelled to wish and wonder, because living… real living… in a human or romantic or even political sense… is not about removing risk and pain from one’s lives, but instead accepting that risk and pain as an unavoidable byproduct of existence and, in so doing, opening oneself up to the possibility that something remarkable might happen anyway.

    sheer fecking brilliance!!

    thank you ever so much…

    ♥~

  3. very nice….

    the scene…….

    thank you….

    • pfiore8 on April 14, 2008 at 8:15 am

    !!!

Comments have been disabled.