Yes, like my fellow blogger who sent me a comment yesterday, I too watched The Tree of Life yesterday by coincidence. Above are pictures from the movie. In the first one, Sean Penn, as the older brother whose younger brother died, is remembering life as a child. His memories are impressionistic which is true to how the natural mind works. If I think of my childhood, I see bursts of images held together in small packages, tied together by a ribbon of the mind which groups, recalls, and forgets. Impressions, perceptions, interpretations are also in the swirl making the memory not at all as it was. Repackaged, represented. Meaning floats to the surface like cream in milk.
In the second picture, family tension, the tension of leaving childhood to take on greater responsibility, fulfill greater expectations is portrayed. Often, we begin to despise one of our parents then, especially if, like in the movie, they are demanding. The Sean Penn character (the older brother) remembers clearly the confusion and sadness of this time. Images of his dead younger brother are outlining these remembrances.
Then, in the final shot, after death, the family is reunited on the eternal beach, waiting for one another, or the Savior, to carry them across the tide. They are joyful, yet resolute to the environment, yet so happy to be reunited. Life has moved on to another stage, and they are together immemorially.
The movie was deeply sad to me because, although life is interconnected -- the tree branches out for us all -- grace is there -- the trials of the human were shown. The calling out for proof of His care was sounded; the confusion, the loss, the layer below the happy -- all lurked. Even the ending was forlorn due to the beach and people walking alone or waiting for their loved ones. After the family reunites, I wondered, "What's next? Do they wander now? What fulfillment do they finally receive for their souls?"
However, the movie is open to interpretation and impressions, and those are mine. I went to bed knowing that I can't think about the film too much; can't let the movie root in me because of the not enough quality to it. I would become depressed. When I think of eternity, I think of the last stage Narnia and a more biblically described place -- where all is warm, goodness inundates, and divine relationship is established. No more floating, wandering, walking as a small person by the side of a gigantic, cold ocean. Love will flourish. Love will dispel. Loved ones will be reunited in the context of light and Love who will embrace and hold forever.
Hands out, for now, loving others and seeking the eternal culmination of that hope and desire. The end does await. I can dare to believe the old texts as I walk in my brief here and now, alongside the ocean, under the tree, beside an old house where once lived those I laughed with and loved.