I love hindsight, the privilege of being able to look back and be right, as well as to see what we didn’t know at the time. I‘m waiting for a creative someone to develop an App that will eventually fix those I told you so times, making everything right before we leave the room. However, until it happens we have innocent eyes, photographs and of course video.
Recently my large dog downgraded my 2 terabyte hard drive to the floor, sending roughly ten years of work, memories and stupidity into oblivion. Recreating what I could, I found myself again transferring VHS to AVI, letting the past live on laptop, heart and cloud. While watching old family films I did more than listen while my daughters chased people with our 6 pound handicam, I really saw what they filmed in those now long gone moments. As if falling through a looking glass of half full reality, for the first time I looked into the faces of people I knew, this time without the assumption of their emotions I once had. This time around I saw how they really felt and acted.
Taking life for granted is something we all do and that includes those we assume to know, understand or figure out. In the heat of the moment, the rush or the celebration much is missed because we are too busy with our own agenda, assuming everyone else feels the same way we do. However, years later when time opens these healed and scared hearts and emotions, it is an eye opener to see what really was going on. It has been said seeing life through the eyes of a child is priceless; it is even truer if they have a video camera.
Because life is a journey of events we must live to gain knowledge and growth, we continually see it on our own terms, including even the most magnanimous of us. It seems unconscionable that we would think someone didn’t want to be at our wedding, celebrate a child’s first over the top birthday or delight as an aging relative laughing on what would be their last moment. It does however become painfully apparent in Dolby VHS-C rewind if we miss it the first time that those are first and foremost our moments, and even when we bring others along they don’t always enjoy the experience, or possibly they even have an ulterior motive we miss altogether.
Sipping tea while eating my humble pie, I opened my eyes to that level of that innocence and realized again the world is more than just the space I occupy and my heart takes care of. Just because I delight in my family and moments others will never know, doesn’t mean they want to share them, possibly they want to even ruin them. That brought me back to the script life has been directing and looking past the fake and façade, I located those who were smiling and laughing, happy to be included in my production. Sadly as the years passed my cast of characters changed as well, many no longer alive, divorces, relocations, and others simply disappearing. However, those who have kept my life in their eyes are still here, even though tape was no longer rolling.
Hindsight may give us knowledge, but those special faces making up their lines in our lives are what give us character, strength and acceptance. It is ironic really, since they are the same ones taken for granted as stand ins and extras as we film our productions, because we assume they will always be there and know they belong in the film – talk about needing a rewrite!
Next time I hit the movie icon on my camera or cell phone preparing to keep an unscripted moment forever, I’m going to ask myself if everyone included in the viewfinder would buy a ticket. Then looking at the cast, I will fully appreciate the understudies who know the lines of my face and words on my heart. Directing my attention to that obvious cast, just as in any successful movie it will be easy to see they are the ones carrying the plot and adding the emotion needed to make it worthy of an award, even if they’ll rarely see one. It will be worth it to take time weeding out the extras that there just for my show and their tell, allowing me to see life through the eyes of those wanting to included. The result will truly be a celebration for everyone, especially when the camera stops filming and many of them leave to take their place with the real stars, because I will forever hold them close in an encore.