I just finished watching Moulin Rouge again. It’s an incredible story, a story which speaks of the so-called "bohemian" ideals of truth, beauty and love. It struck me how the true believers of the world, the dreamers and prophets, often end up in a lifestyle of pretense. Be it music or art or theater or literature, it seems to me that those who see more clearly give up hope in the possibility that truth can be reached in the reality of the daily grind, instead choosing to spend their lives in search of that all too elusive transcendent moment. In doing so, however, they unwittingly compromise the very ideals they so passionately espouse.
The "truth" that is reached in a theatrical production is only a shadow of the truth, because each participant in that transcendent moment where truth is touched is in reality only a pretender. The truth that is reached at an orchestral concert comes as the composer manipulates the music to its climax, that moment when reality suddenly drops away and performer and audience alike are swept away to a far-off place. But as suddenly as the moment arrives, it leaves, and all is gray and normal again. And even if the performers were to play the piece again, and if the audience were to stay to listen, over and over again, after so many repetitions the moment would lose its power, and all would realize the hollowness of the "truth" that at first seemed so real. For it is only a fleeting shadow of the real thing, a hint at something far greater, a vain attempt to connect with that for which man was made.
These dreamers were given the gift of feeling deeply the longing in the heart of every man. But they give up too easily, and too soon. There is a truth that is meant to be experienced, and it will not be experienced in its fullness by any extraordinary effort on the part of man. It rather requires the opposite– surrender. While the instinct of man is to put himself through whatever physical or mental contortions possible in order to enter into this truth, it is the nature of truth that it may be reached only through submission.
God, give me the strength to surrender all that I may have You.
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (Jim Elliot)