Jamie got me The Sound of Music for Christmas. He's a good man. I'm not sure how many times I've let the kids play the "songs only" version of the DVD. The movie skips from one song to the next with the option of sing-a-long subtitles. Their favorite is "The Lonely Goatherd." It makes me laugh to think that my children already know the words to "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," when it took me years to understand what Rolfe was saying to that enviable, soft-focus Liesl (roues, cads and all).
Do you remember when The Sound of Music aired regularly on television? It was edited to fit in the allotted time space, so when my family got the much desired VCR and copied the much desired movie, the version we ended up with had a few plot holes. My sister and I didn't mind, though. We watched it over and over and over until we had it memorized. Our enthusiasm even went beyond the film. Every time our family went for a drive, she and I were on the lookout for the perfect "Maria hill" -- you know, the hill that would be perfectly suited to accommodate rapturous, melodious twirling.
Just a few years ago I watched the full-length, unedited movie with no commercial breaks. I was astonished. I was thrilled. It was like seeing my favorite movie for the very first time. I felt complete and whole. (And it finally made sense to me why Kurt's response to Maria after her long-awaited return from the abbey was, "Hungry!")
Now, I had seen the original before -- at a movie theater, in fact (red curtain intermission and all!). The details are a bit hazy in my mind, but I do recall singing along at the top of my lungs with everyone in my party (you people know who you are), much to the consternation of fellow theater goers. It was a glorious moment, somewhere in my youth . . . or childhood. But time wore on, and I eventually forgot the missing scenes. I was content to live with the edited version.
Maybe this is a bit like the waiting we experience each day. The waiting for our Lord to return and create a new heaven and a new earth. We see hints of it now, and we already love much of what we see. We rewind and go to our favorite parts again and again. Some of us even have the scenes memorized: the etched slope of Mt. Hood against an eastern sky, the gray twist of the Columbia River through towering basalt, the thunderous crash of the mighty Pacific against sandy shores.
But this -- what we have now -- this is only the incomplete, commercial-broken, flawed story. There are plot holes and mistakes, and at times we just don't get it. Even worse, we sometimes forget that something is missing and content ourselves with mediocrity.
But then, we are reminded. We dream once more of seeing the whole picture as it was meant to be. We imagine the story growing to fruition: the red curtain rising, the hazy details coming into sharp focus, the Male Lead sweeping us off of our feet.
Some day, we'll have front row seats in the theater. The dreams and imaginings will be fully alive. The story will astonish and maybe even surprise us. But it will be thrilling, achingly beautiful, and it will make us complete.
Some day, those hills are really going to be alive. Personally, I intend to spend many a day on the perfect Maria hill, absorbed in rapturous, melodious twirling. Who's with me?
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
I Corinthians 13:12
I Corinthians 13:12