Out of nowhere
And the background's fading
Out of focus
Yes the picture's changing
And your destination
You don't know it--
We watched the movie Kramer versus Kramer on television tonight. For those who have not seen the film, Meryl Streep plays a frustrated stay at home mom who leaves her work-obsessed husband and their kindergarten age child to go try to find another way to live. The father learns how to be a real father, and then the restored mother comes back into the picture, contesting custody. Although the movie has many touching and funny scenes (and more than a bit too much heavy-handed soap), the real pull of the film is the sense of quiet revelation that people are changing and improving. By the end of the movie, three people have learned to "get it", to the benefit of all.
I remember being 14 years old and going to dances at little wood frame homes in the country. Although I was socially inept, from time to time I'd slow dance with girls to songs like 3 Dog Night's "Pieces of April". I can still smell the pungent (and mildly metallic) aroma of what I now would recognize as cheap perfume, wafting on cool summer evenings as the music played. During the right song with the right girl, one had a kind of "eternal moment", an instant of contentment, frozen in time.
We all wish that all our relationships, romantic, business, familial and platonic, were more like a simple moment with a great song and less like a perpetual time of adjustment. We learn, day by day, how to live more wisely than we did in the day just passed.
Experience is a talented dance instructor, but she is not at all an easy partner. She often leads us in dances we had no intention of learning. She has an annoying tendency to repeat oft-trod steps, long after they have become mundane. Eventually we learn that this rhythm of repetition is the dance, and we must snuggle in closely, and get lost in the music.