Tuesday, February 16, 2010
My ash wednesday
February 17 marks Ash Wednesday in the Catholic/Christian calendar. The biblical significance is that it heralds the onset of the lenten season - 40 days to Easter Sunday.
It is also the title of two films - but I only saw the one where Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda, which was released in 1973. I must have been a teen then but I can still recall the theme of the film.
"Ash Wednesday" tells the rather sad story of Barbara Sawyer (Elizabeth Taylor) a wealthy woman from Detroit who is entering that difficult period of her life when her visual charms are fading and her equally aging husband (Henry Fonda)is experiencing his own late midlife crisis and looking elsewhere to help make him feel young again. Driven by a desire to please her husband and save her marriage she travels to Italy and undergoes extensive plastic surgery in the vain hope that all their marital problems will evaporate. What she realizes is that time has moved on and both of them have changed over time and now have different needs and directions to go off in. "Ash Wednesday" contains a beautifully restrained performance from Elizabeth. She is in turn afraid of the consequences of the surgery, joyful at the superb results, apprehensive about her husband's feelings towards her and developing a growing confidence in her ability to once again be an interesting and attractive woman in her own right. Often accused of allowing herself to become locked into variations of her Oscar winning performance as Martha in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf" here Elizabeth takes on a whole different type of character and one which suits her perfectly. Barbara is no shrieking harridan, just a woman rediscovering herself and learning a bit about life and how it works in the process.
The film may have been a very old one, but it's definitely a classic.
We all have an "Ash Wednesday" in our lives. A day of repentance, sacrifice and fasting. A day where we feel that time has passed us by so quickly and that we need to make those sacrifices, retreats, soul searching, mind breaking and heart wrenching decisions in search of our Easter Sunday.
I will not elaborate on the various crossroads I have faced and even the ones I still am about to go through. But one thing I am sure is that I am not the only one with lenten sacrifice in our lives.
Life is never fair and there are times that when we're at our lowest point, it brings out the best in us (or makes us really looney).
The decisions I have made in life may not be the best, but it's what makes my achieve my resurrection.
After Ash Wednesday, we reach the pinnacle of our worst moments in our Good Friday. We die a little only to rise again.