So, did any of you see Becoming Jane this weekend? Kirk and I went Friday night, and then again today, on Sunday afternoon.
The first night, it left me feeling dumb and speechless. I don't mean dumb in a stupid sort of way. What I mean is, I couldn't speak for about an hour. I went home and lay myself down on the bed and listened to the soundtrack for about an hour, until I was ready to speak.
And when we finally spoke, Kirk and I discussed beauty (which is what I felt I had encountered) and whether it requires any fitting response from us, or any response at all. Because I'll be honest: the film raised feelings in me that I hadn't felt in a very long time. I felt like I couldn't speak because the need to respond in some visceral, productive, articulate way was so strong, and I knew I couldn't do it justice. I couldn't measure up to the feelings I felt inside. I didn't even know what such an attempt would require.
We finally happened upon the possibility that perhaps what beauty actually requests of us is worship. If we are moved by beauty and turn to God in response, then some of the pressure is off. We get to be human, responding to a great God who is more infinitely beautiful than we can imagine, and He doesn't require perfection in response from us because He knows that we are human (even though we don't believe this of ourselves sometimes). Then we are free to respond in a human, imperfect way. But if we turn from beauty and try to respond out of our own strength, we will fall mute and dumb and lost. It just can't happen. We aren't strong enough, in our actual makeup, to handle it well.
I don't like this arrangement very much, because the fallen part of me wants to be strong enough to respond out of my own ability and merit, without having to turn to God first and then become human as a result. For some reason, I keep wanting to be superhuman, even though I find humanity intensely mysterious and wonderful much of the time.
Then I went to see the film again. It had the same response. I couldn't speak very well, but at least this time I could identify some more of the reasons why. A few of the scenes moved me beyond words: the scene where she is staying in London and, in the early hours of night, conceives of the Pride and Prejudice premise; and the scene at the end, where she is giving a reading of that great book, and her words are more perfectly placed and filled with understanding than she could have known in her earlier years. For some reason, both of these scenes filled me with such longing.
I haven't written to express myself creatively in some time. Even though writing is as much a part of me as my own breath, I haven't regarded it with the respect it deserves in my own life. Plainly put, I am scared. I'm scared I'm not up to the task. There is a whole landscape inside my soul that has yet to be traversed because I'm afraid. I despise myself for this fear. I've basically shut it down because I believe am not up to it. I've given up trying. I've moved to other pastures. Unfortunately so.
All that aside, the last thing I'll say is that Anne Hathaway is, indeed, a believeable Jane. I had my doubts, as usually I see Anne Hathaway as an actor in a role. She's cute, but she's still just usually herself. But she (thankfully) broke free of that stereotype for me in this important role. I saw her as Jane, plain and simple. And I was thankful.