I’ve just been watching ‘Lost in Translation’ again. It’s one of my favourite films, for so many reasons. This time something stood out which I’ve seen before, but never thought about on such a deep level. In case you don’t know the film, it’s essentially a story of two people, an ageing film star – played by Bill Murray – and a young married woman played by Scarlett Johnannsen, who randomly meet when staying at the same hotel in Tokyo, and the week they have and circumstances they go through. Neither speak the language, and both are at places in their lives where they are lost – but they find each other, and in the midst of that, find meaning and renewed hope.
It’s a snapshot of two souls who randomly find each other for a week, and totally connect and end up wresting with the deepest things of life – one right at the beginning of their adult life and one having a mid-life crisis, having been married for 25 years and had his fair share of life experience.
There are several intimate and yet powerful scenes in the movie, where a lot is communicated by and between the two principal characters, and these scenes are very moving and have such depth, but there is one important factor that they have in common.
No words are spoken.
So much of the communication between these two souls is done through body language, through actions, gesture and looks. The short scene shown in the picture above is one. Even in scenes on with the central characters on their own this is the case, one in particular where Johnannsen’s character visits a Japanese religious shrine and watches silently with background music whilst people engage with it, and there are several scenes of her character with just background music and her looking around – in the city and on the subway.
There’s no words in these scenes, yet so much is communicated and there is so much emotion behind them. You are genuinely moved, just as their characters seem to be.
It is amazing to me just how much can be communicated without any words being spoken – and I’m not just talking about body language or looks in the eye, or gestures, in the way experts do. I think that these things can often point to what is going on in the soul, something way beyond and deeper than our conscious selves.
Love often expresses itself that way doesn’t it?
A hug or a kiss.
A movement of one person hands towards the other as they stand next to each other without even looking at each other.
The look on a starving person’s face when they receive food.
The look on a loved one’s face when a daughter they thought they’d lost to slavery is freed & returns home.
Just a look.
Something which reflects something far deeper.
Deeper even than our subconscious.
It’s something of God – of the Holy Spirit.
Our souls call out to God, for God. They call out for validation, love, worth. Those things can only truly be found, and those needs satisfied, through God.
And, they call out to each other. For each other. Because, ultimately, we weren’t meant to live in isolation. God made us to live in community, loving, serving, blessing, forgiving each other, doing life together with each other, and ultimately with Him. All together.
At the end of the day, you can talk about all the theology you like, and use all the jargon you like. But life, right at it’s deepest, is about something far deeper than anything we will ever understand or comprehend. A love – and a desire – deep inside of us, and a connection between us and our creator God – who Himself is love, and is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
I often think God would rather, instead of letting religion and rule-keeping get in the way, have a more simplistic view of His love and grace. A view that merely recognises that God loves us and knows us at a deeper level than we can imagine, that His grace is infinite and through the cross & resurrection He has made all things right between us.
That even though we’re all sinners one way or another, He still loves us utterly and completely and without any condition, there’s nothing we can do to earn or deserve His love, grace or forgiveness, it’s just there.
He just wants us to accept the simplicity of His love and grace on a very deep level, and that ultimately He’s taken care of everything, and that it’s so big and powerful that it goes beyond anything words can comprehend, or indeed that our minds can fathom.
Jesus said we should approach Him ‘like a child’ – and maybe this is one of the things He meant.
Like the two main characters, each of us is ‘lost’ to a degree and searching for something, trying to find someone who will listen, someone who we do the journey with, who will understand us in a way that goes beyond language – which is ultimately what the two principal characters find in the film. They are ‘lost in translation’ – but the common language they speak is deeper than words, and it doesn’t matter that no one else speaks the same language, or even if they physically speak the same language. There is a connection between them which goes far deeper than words – and it’s the same between us and God – if we allow Him in.
God can’t be explained with words. His love, grace and mercy go beyond any language. He goes far deeper than we can ever comprehend, and He is pursuing that level of intimacy with all of us – and knows us better than we know ourselves.
There is a saying, and I believe it’s true.
God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
Do you believe that?
Do you see God & His nature and love as something that can be explained, or something deeply felt and beyond imagination and comprehension – or both?
What do you think deep intimacy with God, beyond words, could be like?
Is your God beyond words?
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