While I slammed the movie Collateral Beauty pretty badly, it wasn’t all bad. The movie did a good job of discussing some universal themes of our lives and of exploring the unfathomable grief of the loss of a child. In the very beginning of the movie, Will Smith’s character makes an uplifting speech about Time, Love, and Death. He notes these connect all human beings long for love, wish they had more time and fear death. Notably, he makes this observation during the halcyon days when his daughter is alive, his marriage is intact, and his business is thriving. During these days, Love is flowing freely to and from his daughter and wife. Time is a precious gift because Time is giving us the opportunity to enjoy the Love that we share. And, Death is an enemy that we try not to think about. We are in love with Love. We are grateful for Time. And we keep Death at bay by any means necessary. We expect those relationships with Time, Love, and Death to always stay the same. But, they do not.
What we don’t realize during these times is that it can all be turned on its head. When the one we love is no longer there for us, we realize how vulnerable Love has made us. We know that Love can not only bring great joy; Love can bring unspeakable and seemingly unbearable pain. We might even begin to question was the Love worth it? If we could erase those memories, the pain would go away. Love forces us to hold onto the memories no matter how painful they are. Time, that thing that was once a precious gift, is now our enemy. Time becomes a prison sentence. Time separates us from the one we love. We know that if we could just fast forward Time, we could be where we know we are going- reunited. The Time that we once tried to slow down, the Time that we once savored and sipped at like a fine wine, the Time that we would have saved in a bottle- we now gulp in. Time cannot pass fast enough. The gray hair and wrinkles that mark the passage of Time and we hated so see come are now reminders that Time cannot keep us trapped forever. Then, there is Death. Once we thought Death was the end. Death was the ultimate thing to be feared. Now, we see Death for what is is. Death is simply a transition. Death is the next step. Death is passing through a veil. When we are children, we lack the capability of knowing the permanence of objects and people. For a child under a certain age, when her mother leaves the room, her mother isn’t in the next room, she no longer exists. At some point in her development, that child realizes that just because she cannot see or hear her mother that doesn’t mean she is no more. We realize now that Death, which we once thought took us away forever, is actually like stepping into the next room. And, we know that in Time, we will experience Death, and Love will bring us back together.