Let’s talk about a different 45. The almost-45 years that my parents have been together. No, they never thought they’d be a trio with me in the mix–what brought them together like magnets was music. They lived for music and their spiritual quests in tandem.
When I was on a 9+ hour flight a day or so ago, I was amazed to find the movie “Seven” available for view. Thank you Luftansa! I have been wanting to revisit it lately, as the idea of the “seven deadly sins” has been top of mind for me of late. I also recalled it being markedly genius. I love film as a genre. (Image source)
What surprised me in the film’s revisit was the component of the “dynamic duo.” I literally kept hitting pause and taking notes throughout. The magical journey of relationship development so artfully executed. What broke the ice and pushed them past annoyance was opening up–letting each other be each other’s selves without judgment. Being curious. Acknowledging humanity. It all happened over dinner to start, and then after that, over time and space.
When I think of my parents’ 45, and the couples around me that are healthy and thriving in life–better together than apart, I see it. It’s all about the dynamic.
The wonder of this word, “dynamic,” is that it encapsulates so much. “Constant change, activity, or progress” + “Positive” + “Full of energy and new ideas” + “A force that stimulates change or progress.” And there’s the whole music connotation / use of the word as well.
The truth is, we as humans love a good team in TV and movies. It’s fun seeing intimacy take shape in twos. The fun, the creativity–inside jokes. Freedom, respect, agency, problem-solving, shared success. For me in watching “Seven” the other day–I felt like I was dissecting the anatomy of teamwork. It’s not just Lynnette and Bruce Mello, but all of the couples I have known and witness that thrive. They have that team flow in similar ways. A shout-out to my favorite couples–you know who you are! Two of them were over my house for dinner on Friday night.
In the tenets of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-management is key but so is social awareness and relationship management. Throughout the film, you see “iron sharpening iron” to use the sacred text reference–both of them better and more alive because of each other. Skills’ juxtaposition–seeing them flex and move to use each other’s strengths. Conversations move from being condescending to being honest, productive. Conflict still exists but it’s turned to be relational and transformative. They learn from each other. (Image sources here, here and here)
The last line of the movie is Morgan Freeman’s character quoting Ernest Hemingway: “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” He says, “I agree with the second part.”
Last time I wrote here, I talked about Jeremy Michael Vasquez’s book of poetry that had me on a journey this week. One of the poems that struck a chord in me personally was called “You cute but are you down with the revolution?” The last line reads: “So when I get on my knee, don’t say ‘you do,’ say ‘you’re down,’ for the revolution.”
I awoke one morning in Austin, Texas two and a half years ago while traveling. I woke up knowing I had to end the relationship I was in. I rose with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. as fuel and fire in my bones:
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
My life had been reduced to survival. I had to rise above. I want to be with the people, for the people. Dynamic for me is being “down with the revolution.” Dynamic for me is about our human story and giving of every breath and life force within me to contribute to good in community and relationship with others. Revolution.
What my parents have in common with Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt (how’s that for a funny phrase!)–or rather, their characters in this particular film–is a commitment to revolution. Doing work. Giving generously. Focus. Direction. You see that in the ways that both duos live their lives. They make sacrifices. They are lean and mean in their simplicity of lifestyle–oriented toward shared purpose. I’m grateful that one of those duos is up close and personal in my life. Dynamic or bust.
The revolution that has fire in my bones isn’t music and spirituality like for my parents, and it’s not bringing communities justice as for Freeman and Pitt. For me, the revolution is finding our very souls again. In life, in work. Together, individually. Humanity alive and thriving. What it means to be human. Undoing the seams of oppression in our everyday tapestry. Saying yes to life together. Art as truth telling. Revolution or bust.