Weekly Message from T. J.

A Way of Caring

Last week I was eating lunch with a friend not too far from the Ward theaters. It was one of those rare days when we both realized that we both had a few free hours in a row. And an even more rare day when we both realized that a movie we both wanted to see was starting in a few minutes at Ward. So we decided to head over and see Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie that dramatizes some of the points of the life of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen.

As a point of discourse, my custom is not to recommend that people go see movies. Instead, I tend to share what I like about movies and let people choose their own way. Among the things I liked about this movie was simply the experience of listening to iconic studio music and iconic live performances transmitted over the state-of-the-art sound systems that reside in the Ward theaters. Also, what I liked about the movie was the way family was described, the way that a group of misfits united in a common purpose could choose to be family.

A fateful recording session Mercury took part in that was not in the movie was the recording of the song “Under Pressure” with David Bowie. Until both of these artists’ deaths, each gave the other the majority of the credit for writing that song. They explained the writing was done by and large in the studio and neither remembered really how the whole thing came together. It just did. But the result was electric and deeply affecting for many who know and love that song and what it stands for.

“Love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change the way of caring about ourselves. This is our last dance.” Neither author claims to have written these words, but this prophetic vision is one shared at the heart of many faiths throughout time. And knowing more about how Mercury looked at family as a proposition guided perhaps as much by choice as by fate, it took on even greater meaning.

In that moment in that theater, watching a man more afraid of not living than of dying, and listening to the pounding of a life that insists upon itself, these words rang truer and truer. Who is standing just outside my vision? Who is it that I am straining to see? These challenges are universal. Any tradition that welcomes all should be trying to answer them, yes. And any person in that tradition should, too. But as I noticed the eyes of a friend I know so well, who’s family of origin is a challenge at times, glistening against the last flickering frames of film, I wondered if an answer lay as much in the time I devote to these goals as it does in the free time I’d allowed in my life that day, simply to be there for him, my brother, my friend.

Blessings of more time to you all,

Rev. T. J.

2 Responses to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. I went to see that film…I loved it. (Not the least because of the Ward theatre leather recliners. *LOL*) It was like being at the best rock concert ever. But the struggle of Freddie Mercury to be himself and reconcile what his family and society expected was sobering too. In the end I think the best we can do, for ourselves and others, is just what you say and did: Be there.

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