21 Grams and a Wishing Wall

I just watched the movie 21 Grams. And I really love what Sean Penn's voiceover offers in the end. There is a montage of all of the characters -- in a story where all of the characters mesh into one narrative -- and these words are heard:

How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?

That last line is repeated. How much did 21 grams weigh? So, I'm left to wonder.

Walking home from the movie store, we stopped at Starbucks to get hot chocolate (it's really cold, by the way). And in this Starbucks, one of the employees has created a Wishing Wall. It happened rather simply as she served coffee every day to the same people without knowing their stories. Why were they coming at this time? What made them tick? I remember these questions racing through my head when I served coffee. Every once in a while, there is a connection but mostly, you just remember her drink and smile. But, this Starbucks barista created a "wish box" near the condiment bar. There were some simple instructions to write down an anonymous wish that would soon be created into a Wishing Wall. And there it is in Starbucks. A Wishing Wall. It covers the entire wall. Colorful post its naming people's wishes. One wished for the war to end. And another did the same. And another. Several wished for loving relationships. One man wished for the right to marry. And others were simpler. That people would put down their cell phones and laptops. That someone's brother would come home from Iraq so the big yellow ribbon could come down off the tree in the front yard. And there were others -- many, many others.

21 grams? I don't know. But, I wept in front of this wall. Something about it moved me to tears. So truly, how much did 21 grams weigh?

1 comment:

steve said...

I was just thinking about how your reaction at that wall is a profound statement about your humanity and decency. I hope that strikes you as a significant compliment. It was meant as one.