Through story telling, I find that movies can open us up to new insights and clear emotions in a pleasant way. My recent eye opener came while I viewed “Philomena” with my daughter Carmin in San Francisco. The story tells of a woman who became pregnant while she was young in Ireland. Her father sent her to a convent and after the baby was born would not let her return home. She spent four years at the convent, working hard to repay the nuns for housing her and her child. The nuns forced her to sign a paper which gave them the right to give this child out for adoption. At the age of three he was taken away.
Fifty years later a newspaper reporter helps her find her lost son. I will not reveal the entire story, for it is one that unfolds beautifully with a few surprises, which makes a good tale. What impressed me was the kindness of Philomena. Even though she was treated unfairly, she did not judge others. Her broken heart stayed open. She has inspired me and I trust will impress you as well if you chose to see the movie.
I had another insight by viewing the story of this blessed soul. It saddens me as I write this. Philomena’s constant concern was, “Did he ever think of me?” She said, “I think of him every day.” It brings tears to my eyes because I too had a parent I never knew till I was 42 and then he passed away within three months. My question is, did my father think of me every day? It makes me cry because in my heart I know he did. I feel his sadness and mine as well. I feel the removal of a child from a parent is much more difficult for the adult than the child.
I did not remember my father, for I was only 6 months old when our relationship was severed. I had no memories to hold on to, but he did. The day I met him I asked why he had not come to find us. He explained the circumstances and also added, “It was too hard to see you and then have to leave without you in my arms.”
How strange our emotions are, I feel deep sorrow and yet, happiness to understand another aspect of my father. Philomena opened my eyes to a memory I have tucked away. And for me it is okay to revisit my sad memories from time to time. It gives me a chance to be one with the pain of all humanity and mine as well. For we are all one, and feeling that connection allows our compassion to expand as we open our hearts, first to ourselves and then to others.