La Vie = C’est Beau

Life.

It is so beautiful, is it not?

We saw all the Oscar nominees this year. I was struck most by Amour (painful, yet true) and Life of Pi.

I loved the book Life of Pi, which I read far before I ever had any significant challenges and everything was so very wonderful, adventurous and free. I was speaking to a friend and trying to convey how fabulous my 20s were. “Everything I wanted was easy to pick from the proverbial tree. Nothing was difficult, I was glamorous and valued everywhere I went. I worked with Royalty, American and otherwise, and everyone cared what I thought.”

Who can possibly sympathize with such a spoiled child? I’m stunned now to realize this was my existence for so many years. What a brat I was. How undeserved was my every success.

When I read Life of Pi back in 2002, I cleverly and shallowly deciphered the text and meaning for a book club, just to try to impress others. “Richard Parker is God,” I confidently stated. “God is unknowable. He is impossible to befriend and doesn’t care about our own desires and fears as far as we can tell. God would walk into the forest, never to stop and look back at us with any type of regret. This is why the tiger is Pi’s perception of God. God is with us, but He is unknowable. But is it better to have Him in our life?”

When I watched the movie, I realized that I had been right all those years ago. Yet, I had not really known how very much the future me would understand the movie. When I had my miscarriages, and when I heard my impossible diagnosis, God stalked into the forest, to part from me for a long, long time.

Like Pi, I have a more universal view of God than most. I think many religions strike upon the truth, but I have a hard time accepting one particular truth. I kind of believe the Ang Lee/Yann Martel version: that it is more difficult and unpleasant to not have a Richard Parker in my life at all. Richard Parker may be unknowable and harsh but he is beautiful and engaging and a comfort in some ways. I’d prefer this.

And I can’t remember a more beautiful movie or score than this one.

Life is harsh, and hard and mean. But it is so very, very beautiful. And I am so very lucky to partake in it.

The most beautiful song I’ve heard in years.

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5 Comments

Filed under Discovering joy

5 responses to “La Vie = C’est Beau

  1. I watched the movie and loved it. But I don’t see the Tiger as God. More a side of Pi’s personality, maybe dark and untamable, since it did kill another person. A surviving part, that kept him going.

  2. I didn’t see the movie, but read the book long, long ago, trying to decide what was real. I don’t think that the two things are mutually exclusive … God, and another side of ourselves. And unknowability. Because we plumb the depths of ourselves over and over, and it never stops changing. We are enigmas. And that, too, is beautiful.

  3. I read “Life of Pi” a long time ago, and I remember being confused as to why everyone loved it so. It was beautifully written, of course, but I felt like I missed something. I don’t know if I still have it, but I kept the book (of course I bought it) because I wanted the future me to re-read it and maybe I’d get something out of it.

    This sentence: “When I had my miscarriages, and when I heard my impossible diagnosis, God stalked into the forest, to part from me for a long, long time.”

    I’ve joked recently that I feel like God and I are in a fight right now – except I’m the only one doing the fighting. (It’s only funny because it’s true.)

    Your sentence above? Makes me want to dig out the book and see if there’s something in there I missed 10 years ago when I first read it.

  4. I hadn’t read or seen Life of Pi. But thanks to you, I’m in the queue at the library. Lovely song.

  5. The harshness and inscrutability of life makes the beautiful parts even more beautiful. Humans are dark and beautiful too.

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