Enjoying the Moment

A scene that brings me unalloyed joy--a little sad,
a lot happy: perfection.
When I was younger, I would pick up beloved books, ones that I had read multiple times (after all, if a book is worth reading once, it is worth reading once, twice, thrice, frice . . . ). I would then skip forward to reread single pages, even single scenes. Those single moments were like pings of brilliant color--absolute, refreshing joys.

As I grew older and, I suppose, more seriously self-conscious, I would force myself to read entire books rather than delving into a particular scene or moment. As I've grown even older, however, I have allowed myself the enjoyment of the single passage. Nowadays, I allow myself to delve into the moments of books, films, and television episodes.

C.S. Lewis wrote about these moments in his spiritual autobiography--he tied them to joy, touchstones of eternity. Along the same lines, Tolkien often spoke of God as a creative Author who appreciates, even applauds, the human desire to make stuff. Both men understood that a work of creation carries purpose and depth entirely separate from whether or not it entails a TEACHING MOMENT.

A great moment in Supernatural that is its own reward.
Dracula in his suburban house.
My agreement is even more prosaic--these moments illustrate that art can be satisfying for its own sake. A book or movie or episode doesn't have to have an applicable MEANING, in the sense that it MUST promote higher thoughts and abstract discourse. There is something positive and life-affirming (whether in a comedy or tragedy) about a particular image, arrangement of events, or lines of dialog. The moment works and is therefore a constructive addition to the universe rather than destructive subtraction.

A few of my favorite moments will follow in a separate post.

No comments: