October 1, 2009

All that matters…

Posted in Between Us column, Relationships, Women at 1:18 am by dinaheng

We all think we’re the center of the universe. We see things first from our point of view, and do what we can to advance our own interest in most situations. We behave in ways that we think will win us friends and lovers, and rarely realize that no one judges us more than we judge ourselves.

Two lovely films, which may not draw widespread attention, drive home the message that life is too short to waste on anything but love.dinah-eng-21

In the film “Paris,” French filmmaker Cedric Klapisch tells the story of Pierre (played by Romain Duris), a Parisian who is in need of a heart transplant, and his sister Elise (Juliette Binoche), who moves in with her three children to take care of him.

As Pierre contemplates his death, he sees new meaning in the lives of the people around him, and we see what life means to the university professor, the open-air market vendor, an architect, an illegal immigrant from Cameroon, and others who live in La Ville-Lumiere (the City of Lights).

Subtitled in English, the film shares the universal story of every soul’s longing for companionship, appreciation, and love. If we were to have an intimate look into the lives of our neighbors, colleagues and friends, I imagine the stories and feelings shared by this film’s characters is what we would see.

The film asks — what is the happiest moment of your life? Not what has been, but what is, the happiest moment today? Are you truly happy? Are you grousing about things without recognizing how much happiness you really have? Are you ready to risk for more in your life?

As Pierre tells Elise, “Give chance a chance. Your life isn’t over. Maybe it hasn’t even started.”

And when the life of someone we love ends, what do we do with the life we still have?

In “Love Happens,” Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) is about to close a major multimedia deal, but the best-selling author who specializes in helping others to confront their pain is secretly unable to deal with his own feelings about his wife’s death. When he meets Eloise  (Jennifer Aniston), a florist who has the worst luck with men, he discovers the one person who just might be able to help him help himself.

While trailers make this movie look like a romantic comedy, it’s not. The film is a drama about love and life, with a few chuckles sprinkled in to lighten a story that we all, in one form or another, will face.

The first time death touched my family was when I was a teenager. I’ll never forget the night my mother got the phone call telling her that her parents had been killed in a robbery attempt on their grocery store. It was the first time I ever saw her cry.

We never know when the people we take for granted will no longer be in our lives. But we can do our best to make every moment we have with them count. We may not be able to avoid arguments, but we can resolve them in ways that will not leave us with regret.

The way to do this, of course, is to remember that life is not just about us.

Life is about love.


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