Saturday, August 14 2010
My dentist thanked me for recommending the movie Mama Mia to his wife. He was checking my teeth the other day and told me how much she loved it. His opinion of the film was simply Pierce Brosnan cannot sing. I said "I know but women don't care". The entire conversation took me back to some thoughts I've had on midlife and Mama Mia.
The movie's main character Donna lives with her daughter on a small Greek island. She has spent the last fifteen years running a small resort hotel that she built. Now her daughter Sophie is getting married and Donna is facing the empty nest alone.
The Villa is named quite appropriately Villa Donna, it is a metaphor for her life. It has been all work and no play, an isolated life on an isolated island and now the Villa is beginning to deteriorate, a sure sign of middle age. This sad condition makes Donna sing a song of lament about men and money.
In my dreams I have a plan, If I got me a wealthy man, I wouldn't have to work at all.............
How many lonely women are singing this tune?
The movie comes to a climax at Sophie's wedding. There is a beautiful scene where Donna sings to her first love of her absolute brokenness..The winner takes it all. She has lost, its over. She has come out of the villa/house that she built and is stripped. There is nothing left for her and now she is losing the one thing she has lived for, her daughter. Empty, broken she stands on the rocks; a picture of a life broken on the rocky terrain of midlife.
What happens next is wonderful if you understand the language of symbols. Donna finishes her song and flees to a path that is beautifully lit with small lights. She climbs the steep trail following the lights to the top of a high hill attached to the main island only by the rocky isthmus. There she finds another house....the House of the Lord.
Inside before all the assembled wedding guests she is compelled to make a confession of her long held secret and to ask Sophie's forgiveness. The moment she does this something beautiful happens. She finds the love of her life and Donna the brokenhearted becomes Donna the bride. The marriage supper she has prepared for Sophie turns out to be hers.
How many people crash on the rocks of midlife when the house they were building begins to crumble and fall ( as surely it must)? Many never recover nor do they see the small lighted path that leads to another house, where love Himself patiently waits.