Monday, January 5, 2009

When You Wish Upon A Star

Though I might be more cynical now, this old Disney classic still has the power to send me back to childhood. The first time I listened to it, I was about five years old. We had a new black-and-white TV and we kids were not allowed to watch anything except the occasional Saturday cartoon or Disney which came on at 7:00 p.m.

This song would come on at the beginning or the end of the program. I admit I don’t remember, it was so long ago. I think it might have been at the end, and I seem to recall being so sad if the song didn't completely finish or a commercial intervened, or my parents told me to go to bed.

I remember how small the TV screen seemed to be, and how hard I wished to transport myself into it, and away from my parents and brother and sister in that living room. I just wanted so badly to be in that magical world where wishes come true.

Of course, children know what’s real, what’s important and what’s possible, and maybe have a much better grasp of these things than adults do. Even though you may have promised yourself at age 10 or 16 or 20, that you would never forget the lessons of childhood, I would bet that somewhere along the line, you could not keep that promise. At least, I failed to do so.

When we look at the stars, we still see the endless possibilities as limitless as space. We still see the twinkling lights of the cosmos, a constant reminder that we are merely a speck in the eternal diagram. And in knowing this, we may feel comforted that there is a larger picture and our small actions fade to nothingness in comparison.

Yet, as Pascal said in his Pensées, when we look under a microscope and see the infinitesimal size of the tiniest cell, we feel enormous, and our significance in the world appears to be gigantic. And conversely, when we look at the stars, we understand our insignificance. Both are needed. Our actions are important and do have an effect.

Contemporary science proves that emotion that is heartfelt and intense, affects DNA even when split off and separated by hundreds of miles. When it comes to real feeling, there is no time or space.

When it comes to heartfelt wishes, we may find that the child becomes our teacher, and in the words of William Wordsworth, “My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began. The Child is father of the Man.” Or woman.

1 comment:

Moineau En France said...

so honest and true, stirling... we lose our innocence and we seen to lose a lot of our hope. i remember those days well too, even though i am younger. for me it was "the mickey mouse club", i lived for it. everything else gave me nightmares lol.

i especially love the quotes you employ as points of wisdom. and how i love that wordsworth poem. another verse of his i love:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

i found a pretty good scholarly article on wordsworth's child if you are interested:

Wordsworth's Vision of Childhood