I think we can learn a lot about ourselves from the movies we love – the ones that move us. I recently watched the movie ‘Secretariat’ again, it is one of my favourites. Its a true story of a remarkable race horse and his owner. I cried in a few places this time – haven’t done that before in this particular movie! It may have had something to do with my being wrung out after an intense team retreat, but I think there was a deeper resonance going on than just tiredness.
There was a poignant moment in the film when Penny’s father, now in his last days, with Alzheimer’s taking a firm hold, meets Big Red. Big Red is a beautiful colt, full of life and promise. Penny’s father in a rare moment of clarity, turns to her and tells her “Let him run his race, Darlin’”. The story that then unfolds is the one of how Big Red goes on to break world records that have never been approached since his 1972/73 racing career. Or is it actually the story of the journey that Penny, her team and her family take with Big Red?
Theirs was a journey of faith and creativity. Both faith and creativity involve a process of seeing the invisible and making it tangible, of drawing heaven down to earth. You get a glimpse, a sense of something you know is there, taking steps towards it you finally encounter the reality and your breath it taken away in the excitement of a first time meeting blended with the familiarity of what you always knew.
Penny glimpsed something truly remarkable in Big Red and she chose to step towards it. Those choices set him free to be his best self, although in the end they were the making of her story, on the journey they almost cost her everything. Isn’t that the nature of creation, of bringing something to birth?
Life can get complicated and full of business. But for me I can think of nothing that brings me more delight than the privilege of watching and helping another living being become their best self. In those processes I am most alive. The stress and joy of working out what’s needed in each moment can be exhausting, like Michael Angelo chipping away at all that was not David in the marble! But the delight and reward in witnessing what emerges is indescribable.
Penny and her team trained and cared for Big Red till at his prime all that was needed was to let him do the thing he loved best in the way he loved best, and try and stay on! In his greatest race he ran not to win but for the sheer joy of being his best self. I want to run like that and see others do the same.
I want to let them run their race and in so doing find I am running mine.