Why Am I Watching This Movie?

Why am I watching this movie? I never watch films like this—“X Men: Dark Phoenix.” But here I am, on an airplane, reading a book and stealing glances at the movie my neighbor is watching. I follow some of the action with the aid of subtitles. There seems to be a struggle between positive and negative forces, especially those embodied by Jane Grey, the focus of attention. Mutants, superhumans, are flying through space, fighting, destroying buildings and other beings, and trying to protect some.

Why am I watching this movie, even just through glimpses at the movie screen? I have never liked such films. Something about Jane Grey intrigues me. She is confused, not clear of who she is, trying to gain control of her destructive powers. Jane is desperate to find out who she is and how to avoid using her powers for violence and destruction.

From what I can detect, the plot ends with Jane wrestling with a mutant who wants her power for her own use. Still struggling with each other, they fly off into space and disappear. One of the mutants says of Jane (as I recall):

  • Now she is free.
  • Now she knows who she is.
  • Now she can do more good than she ever could when she was on earth.

Why am I watching this movie? Could it be it faces me with the purpose of my trip to Atlanta: to be with and say “goodbye” to my sister, Sylvia, who is walking the final phase of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)? Life for her involved a search for something more. She was restless while also being at home and grounded on earth. Sylvia’s intuition and skills as a psychotherapist brought her joy as new freedoms opened for clients. She felt pain when she saw potential not released and when people stayed bound in lack of insight and their actions stuck in perceptions, fear, anger and hatred. At times, she questioned herself: “Who am I really? I’m one person to myself. Sometimes I doubt that I know myself. I’m seen as someone else by others.” At times, in jest and in seriousness, she asked in the words of the song title: “Who is Silvia? What is she?” She felt these words were hers—for joy and for doubt. When such questions arose, Sylvia searched for a deeper understanding of herself, who she was called to be, and her life purpose.

Whatever the answers to these questions were for Sylvia, I trust she is now free; she knows who she is; she is doing more good now than she could on earth. I ask: “Do I dare to hold such assurances for myself? Can I hold them as promises that will carry me through the most important transition of my life when I physically disappear?”

Mary Reuter, OSB

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli