Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Flash

photo found here

Do you ever have that feeling that magic is happening just out of your reach? Like you can almost touch it, you can almost see it, but just not quite?

One of my very favorite books growing up was Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (as much as I loved Anne, I always preferred Emily and I share her overuse of italics). She called this feeling - this moment you almost see around the curtain to another place - as "The Flash."

As a ten-year-old reading this book for the first time, I got goosebumps. That had happened to me! I would get The Flash when I heard certain songs or even just specific strains of music. I would get it when I read a particularly wonderful book. I would get it when saw something beautiful - a photo, a house, a person. I couldn't explain what exactly triggered the feeling, but I knew when it was happening.

I still get The Flash.

One of the most memorable flashes was when I first saw "The Holiday" (yep, the Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz gem). I went with my best friends Ashleigh and Kam, and when it was over I turned to them and said "Oh....oh!" I couldn't explain exactly why I was so moved, but I was. I then went on to see that movie eight times in the theater. I know. Yes. Eight times. Something about the movie transfixed me, made me want to be something else. Something/someone more myself. Each time I watch Kate Winslet give her speech about loneliness and yearning to Jack Black, I tear up. Still.

I remember going home after the sixth or seventh viewing of the movie and letting my dog Lucy out. I stood in the freezing January night, looking up at the crystal clear night sky and the stars and thinking "There is more out there. There is so much more out there!"

This isn't to say that I haven't always believed that there is more - I have. I believe in God and Heaven and unseen things all around me. And there is something intrinsic inside of me, and I think it's inside of everyone, that craves this connection to magic. And I think the magic is different for everyone.

I read this passage in The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis today, and of course, he says it so much more eloquently (he always does):

"There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else. You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw - but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realize that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of - something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side?"

Do any of you ever get The Flash?


Jane said...

Oh wow. GREAT post! Great and beautiful and magical. Not only am I going to go read about Emily (I loved Anne SO MUCH), I am going to steal your C.S. Lewis quote and put it on my blog at some point. He says it PERFECTLY. Wow!

I get The Flash all the time. During or after a run, when a great song comes on the radio, when I see a perfect ending to a movie (I LOVED The Holiday - I had just started dating Jason and I knew it was true love because I wanted to go and see him and be with him and not Jude Law).

And I never ever ever have the words to describe what I feel. I usually utter something to God since He is the reason for whatever it is but...there is no way to share it with Jason or my sister or my friends or anyone.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I get the flash (especially when at the ocean or hear a perfect song) and hope everyone does at some point.


annie said...

Um, I cannot tell you how excited I am to "meet" someone else who loves Emily as much as she loves Anne. I get "The Flash" when I'm with a group of friends I love, when we're laughing and talking and no technology is distracting us from each other. I get it when I'm making something, or when a book ends perfectly or heartbreakingly, and I don't know who to tell. Thanks for reminding me of those moments. :)

Anonymous said...

this is crazy i thought i was the only person who got the flash besides emily. the emily books shaped my childhood and still shape who i am today. get the flash when listening to certain strains of music or just looking at the sunset behind my house.