BY LOUISE McKEOGH
I often enjoy going to the movies to relax. Last weekend I had the chance to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
It is always good to share the story with friends, and I enjoy working out what common theme or – as Joseph Campbell might say – what myth is at the heart of this story?
For me this story was all about change, I was struck by the theme of constant change in the movie and the way the different character’s both embraced and resisted change.
We can hear the echoes of the Easter Gospels here. I am sure we were again struck this Easter season how much Easter is about embracing change and transformation.
I suppose I am very sensitive to this theme at the moment as, during this term, everything in my life seems to have changed, as often happens to religious every now and then. I moved interstate, joined a new community and started a new ministry, work with new people, moved into a new house (new to us), and work in a new office.
It seems that a lot about life has changed for me recently and, like the characters in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, some of it I find easy to embrace and some if it – a lot of it – I resist.
Certainly the change that we have control over and can plan for is easier to embrace and to celebrate, and tends to bring us life. For me it is that change that is imposed that comes upon us unplanned and unexpected that I don’t like at all.
What I learnt from Judy Dench’s character and others in The Best Marigold was that the most life giving transformations and greatest experiences of new life can also be found in the changes that we try most to resist and work hardest not to embrace. Easy to say but hard to live – you might say?
It took all at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel time to embrace and come to terms with change, often Judy Dench’s character is shown writing her own blog – yes reflecting like I am on the presence of change in her life. This was something that both those more senior and younger in the movie had to struggle with and face, some even pretended that change wasn’t happening.
As someone in the middle years of life, I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t always the younger couple in the film – Sonny and Sunnil – who found it easier to embrace change.
The wisdom of the senior years seemed to sometimes give the other characters the ability to joyfully embrace and celebrate change with much more ease than the younger Sonny and Sunnil. All at the best Marigold came to realise that all change is inevitable, come it will to us all.
My new role focuses on coordinating Social Justice in our Diocese, and one thing that I am coming to realise is that living the Church’s Social Teaching is a slow work of transformation, a process of change.
All life’s experiences shape and form us, and sometimes gradually transform us, so in the midst of all the change that has been the Best Marigold Hotel of my life, this term I am most grateful for the very recent experiences of accompanying and journeying as a youth worker with young Indigenous students from the Anungal language groups of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory as they came to Adelaide for Secondary Education.
Coming to Adelaide brought these young people face to face with change, the different worlds of a remote community and the modern western city of Adelaide. As I remember these young people individually and the way they uniquely faced the challenges before them I pray for some of their grace and courage and dignity as I now find myself in the reality of a new world in Sydney.
Sister Louise McKeogh FMA is Caritas and Social Justice Office Coordinator for the Diocese of Parramatta.
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