As the film started, my eyes were glued to the set. Fascinating effects and colours of the make-believe world – the way Angelina Jolie’s character, maleficent herself, swooshed inches above the ground and the water then rose up above the cloud to feel the wind and the sunshine.
Several minutes into the film, an old king approached the land, with his army and the intention to conquer it. Maleficent dashed to the frontline and shouted at them to go no further.
I lowered my gaze to check my phone. You know, to see whether there was a new message or an interesting post by friends on social media channels. Purely out of habit. There was no notification sound or anything which could prompt me to check.
Just for a second or two. Then my eyes darted back to the screen. Well, well, that old king had become very ill, lying helplessly on his deathbed, insisting those who wanted his throne to avenge Maleficent.
“What had happened?” I wondered, planting an intention to watch the film again the next time it aired on the same channel.
Several days after, the film was aired again. A repeat scene – me on the couch with warm tea at hand. This time eagered to watch the part of film I missed the first time. Not a moment to soon. There it was. The king had arrived, and so did Maleficent. “Now start the piece that I had missed,” I said, bracing myself of what to come.
The king instructed his army to charge. Maleficent shouted to all earth creatures to rise and fight with her. Suddenly these gigantic creatures – tens or hundreds of them – rose from the earth or came out of the forest.
Together they marched and fought a great fight against the king’s army, throwing soldiers around. Maleficent flying here and there, taking and dropping soldiers along the way, using her strong wings to deflect weapons and fight. The battle scene seemed to go on and on. The king was defeated.
And I was left dumbstruck. I could not believe what I had just witnessed.
All those? I missed the whole epic scene, complete with its magnificent visual and sound effect? Did I really, just for a ‘glance’ at my mobile phone? I thought I was just diverting for a split second. My God.
My mind wondered across the multiple occurences in life when I diverted from what was before me. The times when I (over-)checked my phones and social media timeline. The moments when I was secretly wishing I was somewhere else, or wishing another person to be there with me, in addition to (or, to be blunt, instead of) the ones I was with. The occasions when I was too preoccupied to notice what was right in front of me. The points in time when I asked why without really listening to the response.
To think the unthinkable wonders I have missed during those split seconds of abandonment.
I paused as I wrote this article. I asked myself: “Where am I going with this?” The write up could have easily led to a remoseful ending, beating myself up for those seemingly lost moments. But what good would it do?
The question then shifted. “What I am saying? What do I really want to say?”
A sense of gratitude emerged. Gratitude for the generous reminder, and for yet another chance of awareness. I am grateful for the persistent invitation to be here and now. For the lent hearing and understanding. For the lightness and quietness that I am feeling right now. For the smile on my face which grew from the heart of the heart. For the lesson out of ordinary occurrence such as watching a film on tv.
I wonder whether I need to write more about gratitude and being, and about the simple lessons of everyday life. But I have no more words at this moment. So I guess this will do for now.
Presence. Gratitude. Lightness.
What a blessful and blissful world. May we live happily ever after.