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Chopin - for the journey
In 1897 Mary Baker Eddy invited her followers to visit her at Pleasant View, her home at the time, near Concord N.H.. Among those who came, was a woman who had traveled all the the way from Kansas City for the occasion, accompanied by her children. The day was Independence Day, a day for celebration. But it was also a day filled with agony for her seven-year-old daughter who suffered severely from a boil on her head, under her hair.
Following the formal address, Mary Baker Eddy received her visitors on the porch, including the woman and her children.
The woman, Mrs. Jessie Cooper, later wrote about what took place during the brief moment when she and her children met Mary Baker Eddy at the reception.
Years later, on the day of another gathering at Pleasant View, in 1903, a woman who lived in Concord was attracted by a large crowd of people walking to Pleasant View from the railway station. She didn't know what they had come for, so she followed the crowd as fast as she could. She was paralyzed on one side. Also, she was destitute, and her home life had been unbearable. She had decided that day to leave home, never to return.
When she reached Pleasant View that day, standing in the rear at the far edge of the crowd, she was unable to hear Mary Baker Eddy addressing her guests. When the address was concluded the woman turned away in tears for this one more added disappointment of not having heard what had attracted these many people. She felt that it must have been an important message.
On the way back to Concord, still in tears, as she crossed the street to a vacant lot, she saw a team of horses approaching. She recognized that the woman in the carriage was the same woman who had spoken on the balcony at Pleasant View. She also recognized, as the carriage passed by, that the woman inside leaned forward, looking at her.
In the flow of this single moment of a voiceless communication the woman found herself instantly healed. She returned to her home and found the condition there also healed. She related later, about this moment, "Never before nor since have I seen the love and compassion in any human face that I saw in Mrs. Eddy's when she leaned forward and looked at me."*2
a movie exploring the dimension of 'mother love'
On the surface it is the story of a sensitive eight-year-old boy who had been bullied in a orphanage. He is rescued from the debilitating environment by bright young woman who becomes his mother, named Maire. She teaches him with her loving, providing an example of the brightness of life. In the background stands her husband who is disappointed by her choice in selecting a boy who is unfit for the harsh island living. In resolving the problem many bridges are crossed in a landscape that is metaphysically correct and presents an unfolding image of Mother-Love that has become all too rare, and then unfolds is higher, spiritual, impersonal and universal sense of it.
The following gives a brief overview of the highlights of the story, and I might add here that this is a movie that one will want to see several times. I have been told by one who has seen the film four times, that each time it was as if it was for the first time.
The movie opens with boy being called to the principal of the orphanage of a city in Ireland He is told that he is to leave. Reluctantly he opens the door to the office. Here he finds that instead of being expelled he is chosen by a woman who will take him with her to live on an island off the Irish coast.
He is uncertain about what is happening. Is he now being bullied in an even bigger way? He remains uncertain for some time. He remains uncertain even as he notes that his adopting mother was loved and respected by most everyone around her. His doubt of love that he had not yet learned not trust deepens when he meets his new father. The father greets him coldly with a fast-growing dislike of the boy his own heart. The boy, Tomas, isn't the kind of boy he had expected. He is a withdrawn and injured child that stammered. That's all the father, Alec, can see. He reaches his hand out to the boy, but not his heart.
the movie "A Shine of Rainbows" really begins,
Living on an island is down to earth living. Then what are rain puddles for if they aren't for jumping in and the splashing, and having fun, like dancing in the rain? His new mother, Maire, teaches the reluctant Tomas the joys of splashing in the rain, and this honestly, enjoying the fun by example.
She shows him the island. She shows him the beach. She teaches him how to call to the seals in the ocean so that they will come near and show themselves. And they do come, even to his calling.
Thus his mother Maire becomes his 'white knight' - a friend and protector and an open door to wonders that he had not known before as no one had cared to show them - a world of love. But this world is still small for Tomas, a world that is defined by her alone.
The rest of his world is the opposite. The neighboring children tease him. His father frowns at him. One night he overhears his father almost scolding his new mother, "Why did bring this runt into our house? He does not even speak."
But speak he must, especially when he confronts all the other children of his age in school. The teacher introduces Tomas, and when he stammers, answering their questions as to what it was like living in the city, the teacher simply explains that he can speak alright, but that the words sometimes have trouble coming out. And so he does speak to them.
He speaks to them of the city in terms of what the city has not, in comparison with living on the wide open island of theirs. He speaks evermore fluidly and gains their respect. Eventually, when the teacher asks the class, small as the class is, who would want to sit with him in the classroom, a great many hands go up.
Making friends isn't a problem after that.
Still, the problem at home remains. "Take Tomas with you to your trap line," suggests Maire. "Oh he is useless there," Alec replies of sorts. "I need a strong boy. What were you thinking, Maire, when you selected him?" "Oh, give him a chance," Maire might have replied. " Give him a chance to love you, or better yet, give yourself a chance to love the boy."
Reluctantly Alec complies. He takes him down to the beach with him. There, Tomas notices a stranded baby seal that appears to have been abundant by the others before a hunt that it would be too small take a part in. "Will they come back for it?" the boy asks. "It depends. Sometimes the youngsters starve to death before they come back for it," says Alec.
Tomas pleads to be allowed to look after the seal. Alec gives in and lets him have some fish to feed to the seal. (Can you imagine a fisherman feeding a seal, the enemy of every fisherman, the competition on the fishing grounds?) Alec has a heart after all and acknowledges that the seal needs to be fed, "and this daily," he warns the boy.
However, once the last fish are gone, then what? The mother responds. Maire goes to the city on one fine clear day and returns with a fishing rod for Tomas, just in time for his birthday. However, Tomas needs to be taught how to use it. Again, reluctantly, Alec agrees. The next morning he marches off with Tomas towards the beach. Happily Thomas looks back, bounding behind Alec to go a fishing.
Except on his way down to the beach Alec is intercepted by friends who need his help. He urges Tomas to go on alone, with the promise that we would join him there soon. Sadly the promise is not fulfilled. In time Maire comes down to him. She comes to cheer him up. She spends time with him talking about many things as she takes him out with the boat.
She tells him on the boat that by closing one's eyes, one can see anything that one can remember, and that he could even see his mother again that way, by just closing his eyes, clear enough to paint her iamge.
Indeed, so he could. He could see his grandmother that way, combing her hair with the comb that she had always used, which is now in his possession, almost his sole possession.
Tomas and Maire had spent many a good times at the beach together. Maire also told him about rainbows, and that one could be right inside one. She told him that some day this would happen indeed. She even promised this to Tomas.
On the day of the fishing adventure together, the rainbow colors were the colors of their smiles. The mother was manning the oars and the boy the fishing rod.
However, Maire had been ill around that time. Nevertheless she went out with the boy. However the exhausting task at the oars that day had put her over the edge with her illness. A doctor was called. The verdict was that she would have to be hospitalized in the city.
Before leaving, the mother calls Tomas to her side. She tells him not to worry about her absence and gives him a gift that represents her presence. She gives him a finely embroidered read scarf from a box of colored scarves that Alec had given to her as a gift, earlier, intended for her birthday .
The mother takes the topmost item, a scarf so it seems, and puts her smile into it, and tells Tomas that with this gift from her she would always be with him. She may have reminded him that he could always see her in his mind just as he had seen her waving good bye in the morning when going to school, which had never been a sad occasion.
Only now, with Maire away in hospital, Tomas is taken in by one of the neighbors. However, torn with agony for his mother he sneaks away one stormy night to petition a great mythical god of stone that the islanders have believed could grand petitions.
The stone god is well known to all, a giant tall stone with a sculpted contour that appeared like a man's face. Tomas petitions the god for a chance to see his mother soon that he longed to see, and perhaps also to grant her a speedy recovery.
But alas, a god of stone, lacking a heart and mind and soul, has no power to heal anything, and so a healing is not happening. Nevertheless, one day Tomas is told that he would be taken to her, to visit her in hospital.
In preparation for the visit Thomas purchases from a traveling seller of trinkets and goods, a patchwork table cloth of many colors that mirror the spirit and the colors of her love. He obtains the cloth in exchange for his grandmother's comb that he had treasured. But it all happens too late by then. He arrives too late at the hospital for her to even open his present. She dies part-way during the visit.
Devastatingly alone now, he returns to the seal on the beach, but the seal has no answer for him. However, at this moment there is a parting in the clouds and a rainbow appears. He finds himself as if he were right in the middle of it and thereby remembers his mother's promise that one day this amazing thing would happen, that he would find himself right in the midst of a rainbow.
He remembers the many colors of his mother's love, and realizes that she was in the rainbow with him and would forever be present with him - thus her multicolored love that he still had in his mind was nourishing him.
Encouraged by the new discovery he cooks dinner for his father, who is devastated by his loss to the point of drinking. Tomas explains while he serves the meal that he had learned the art of cooking from his mother. But Alec can't eat a morsel of it. Instead of eating Alec stands up and walks out. In his desperation, Alec is unable to bear the remembering of something that would never be again.
The next day when Thomas comes home from school he finds that Alec had burnt all of Maire's clothes and belongings, even the yellow table cloth that had made the home cheerful. In the now drab, bare house, before going to sleep that night Tomas gives to Alec the red scarf that Maire, whom he he had called mother, had given him, and suggested to Alec that he rest his head on it in sleep. He explains that her smiles had been invested into it.
While Alec follows Tomas' advise, he himself cannot find sleep. He remembers the seal. In desperation he packs his multicolored table cloth and goes down to the beach and packs the seal onto a boat to take it 'home.' He rows with it far out from shore to where the seal would be with its own kind and his mother and be nourished by them.
In the morning however, when the father awakes and has breakfast ready, he finds the boy missing. He spots the boat already past the entrance of the bay where it would be in danger. Alarmed, Alec rushes out to the boat, to the boy, to bring him back, but the boy's boat overturns in the now heavy sea.
Miraculously, Alec finds the boy washed up onto shore when he returns, as if the boy had been transported there by the seals. The boy still lived.
The experience evidently changed Alec deeply. Whether it was the scarf or the rescue mission, he found himself a different man so it seemed. He produced the multicolored table cloth that he had also recovered, wet as it was, and laid it out on the table and served breakfast on it at last.
"So, when are you going to sent me back then?" says the boy cautiously. "Tomorrow? You have not signed the adoption papers, have you? Mother had signed right away, long ago." The father replies that before he can sign the papers he needs Tomas' permission to do so. "Would you like to go back to the orphanage?" her asks. With a negative answer from Tomas, he replies, "so you won't then and signs papers at last signed. "Then I can call you now dad," says Tomas. The dad answers with an embrace, and no doubt many more.
The boy might have remembered in these days that Alec had embraced Maire in this fashion. Now the same loving embraced him.
In the last scenes before the movie is closing, we see Alec standing at the edge of a cliff overlooking the beach with Maire's red scarf held high, to let it fly off with the wind.
Evidently the scarf, though it is by then the last remaining item of Maire possessions, is no longer needed. As the movie closes we see the red scarf floating away with the wind far down the beach. Who needs the symbol of a great love when the real substance of it is now secure in the heart and is felt as ever present and unfolding with many more colors to come and this as resplendent as all the rainbows will ever be.
The story of "A Shine of Rainbows" is more than just a pleasant story of an unfolding of love in many dimensions. It is a story of metaphysics drawn from life. Is is a story of the real Mother-Love drawn from living it. In this sense it isn't fiction. Fiction does not reach that high without science, and the science in this field is till mostly 'thin.' In fact, the science of metaphysics, divine science, is presently so thinly recognized that the Mother element of Mary Baker Eddy's Mother Church has been largely forgotten even in the field of her followers.
In the movie the passing of the mother made room for development of a higher idea of 'mother' that goes beyond the personal sense, assimilating the divine Principle by which the mother-love becomes wholly spiritual, universal, and ever-richer and eternal. In the story the personal loss that both the boy and the father suffered opened the scene to a higher sense replacing the loss, whereby what is precious in the personal becomes immortal.
We see a similar process designed into the Christian Science church history. As Mary Baker Eddy was getting on in years an underground movement developed to persuade her to transfer the leadership of her church into the hands of The Christian Science Board of Directors as the governing institution. During a studio visit with a Christian Science researcher I was shown that her answer was given in August 1908, more than two years before her passing, with the invitation to add two new officers to the officers of the Mother Church: the Pastor Emeritus, (and) a Board of Directors.
Mary Baker Eddy had fulfilled the role of The Pastor Emeritus (the function of "Mother") personally for many years in the form of the author of the textbook that speaks to the congregations throughout the field, and in the form of the spiritual leader of her church. However right from the beginning, in the Church Manual wherever critical authorization for action is required, she has made such actions subject to the approval of "the Pastor Emeritus" with "the" in the lower case form representing the higher idea, the universal spiritual idea that is no longer personal, and which is immortal. Then in 1908, apparently in response to a misperception of what she has instituted, she made the higher, impersonal idea of mother, a formal officer of her church to be recognized as such and to be consulted for all critical actions. That is in essence what happens in the smaller context in the movie, A Shine of Rainbows. The impersonal and higher, spiritual sense of mother, replaces the personal sense of mother, whereby the grand spirit of mother-love that Maire had exemplified, is carried forward in perpetuity, becoming ever-richer in its course. The Christian Science field has yet to make the same discovery, nor what discovery easily made in the movie.
In the Christian Science field the passing of Mary Baker Eddy became the death of the Pastor Emeritus. Lawsuits were launched to annul the Mother Church since the critical function that require the authorization of the Pastor Emeritus could no longer be fulfilled with the Pastor Emeritus being considered dead after Mary Baker Eddy as the personal exemplar of the Mother-function, had passed away. In the shadow of this death, the second officer that Mary Baker Eddy added in 1908, "a Board of Directors," could no see its 'impersonal' role either, but saw its role as "The" Christian Science Board of Directors in the capital sense, rather than in the subjective sense to a higher spiritual idea as the facilitator of it. And so it took on the function of becoming "Mother" itself. The result became dictatorial.
Much of the same now happens in all the governments on Earth, or nearly so, and in the prevailing forms of economics, finance, culture, and relations of people to one another. The higher, universal sense of Mother-Love (reflected in the Principle of the General Welfare - not to mention the Principle of Universal Love) is largely dead in almost every scene. Economics has become a process of profit-oriented stealing instead of building and creating. Finance has become focused on looting; culture on diminishing the human quality; education on diminishing the human creative power, and so on, with love becoming ever smaller, evermore personal, and evermore shallow, to the point that concept becomes empty, abstract, and meaningless. Yet God is Love. The Mother function is a function of Love.
In all of the many testimonies of healing that have been attributed to Mary Baker Eddy's work the one single most common factor that people mention and associate with the healing process, is her deep, unrestrained, universal love that flows as life itself. One of her pioneering definitions for God, is Love, divine Love, a love that pervades all, illumines all, uplifts all, that has been called by so many as being indescribable in its divine reflection in our humanity. Mary Baker Eddy states plainly, that if the Christian Science healer reaches his patient through divine Love, the healing work will be accomplished in a single visit. This sentence defines her own life perhaps better than any other, and also her healing work. She stated, "Divine Love always has met, and always will meet, every human need." This statement, and the statement, "God is Love," are most prominently displayed on the walls in many Christian Science churches. They summarize her celebration of Love.
Mary Baker Eddy's life, evidently, can be called this: A celebration of divine Love. This celebration should become our celebration, a celebration of a profound recognition of this grand universal principle related to human existence in which divine Love comes to light.
Ironically, the term Love has not been defined by Mary Baker Eddy in the Glossary of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. All the seven synonyms for God are found in the Glossary, except Love, Truth, and Soul, which must therefore be defined by the whole.
She writes in the textbook chapter, Prayer: "God is Love." and adds, "The Divine Being must be reflected by man,- else man is not the image and likeness of the patient, tender, and true, the One "altogether lovely..." (S&H p. 3:12)
A Shine of Rainbows (2009)
The movie images are viewers' submissions, found at http://cinema.theiapolis.com/movie-2SCH/a-shine-of-rainbows/gallery/
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada - 2010 Rolf A. F. Witzsche