This is a post about one of my all time favorite movies: “The Sound of Music”. A movie that has the perfect combination for me; splendid sets and scenery, sassy children, pretty costumes, beautiful melodies and choreographies (i dream to learn that waltz one day), and Maria´s charming personality. And why not adding the fact that Julie Andrews is just perfect for the role, like seriously, who doesn´t love her?.
The film opens with breathtaking scenes… from trees, to lakes and snow covered mountains, the camera takes you through an aerial view of the most majestic landscape. And then, it focus in a particular place; a green field where the camera slowly starts to zooms in, till we recognize the figure of a woman with wide-opened arms who is joyfully twirling across the hill; rejoicing in the beauty of the nature and the feeling of being fully alive…and then, the music starts!!!!!!! It is such an enchanting scene that will always make my soul sigh.
And, as if that wasn´t perfect enough, this movie also has the perfect amount of romance for me. A romance where, contrary to most of nowadays films, the characters slowly and innocently fall in love.
This movie is based on a real story (even though it changes many facts), but is often seen as a very childish and non-sense film. Sure it is a very “pink story” but i think there´s so much more than that. Besides all the flowers and cheesy songs, there is also a very heartbreaking part. First of all, the fact that it is placed during the Anschluss (when Hitler annexed Austria), and then, there´s also Von Trapp´s loss of his wife and his inability to relate with his children, as well as Maria´s confusion (which i will mention again later).
So yes, it is indeed a very joyful movie but it has also its dark parts. It may have songs and choreographies that make it look very unrealistic, but hey, it is a musical, and beyond all that there is also a movie with a very deep and touching message inside.The film emphasizes how sometimes one needs to take very hard and sorrowful decisions (like leaving your beloved country) in order to fight for what you believe, and how standing for the good isn´t always the easy way but it is definitely the right thing to do. In the other hand, it also promotes family values and shows that kindness is the strongest force in the world!! Could something be more uplifting than that?.
I have seen this movie dozens of times and i don’t think i will ever get tired of it. One of the things i love the most is that every single time i do, i discover new life lessons on it!!! I could actually write pages and pages about it, but i will try to focus in the particular message that captured my heart as i watched it last night.
So, let´s go back “to the very beginning”… there´s this beautiful opening where we see Maria having a blast as she dances on the green hills. But suddenly, she sees the Abbey from the distance and remembers that she has to go back, so she runs to the convent and apologizes for arriving late to prayer time (once more).
Contrary to what we would think, the Mother Abbess doesn´t reprimand her; instead she talks to her and asks if she really feels monastic life is the right thing for her. Maria replies that she always felt that´s what she should do, but surprisingly the Mother Abbess seems to know more about her than Maria itself, so she asks her to leave the convent for some time in order to find out what she really wants. And that´s where Maria´s and Von Trapp´s stories will cross their paths, for she is sent with them to take care of his “mischievous” kids. Even though Maria was hesitant to the idea she has to obey the Mother Abess, so she leaves the convent and embarks herself on this new adventure, with her dress, hat, and a guitar on hand.
As the time passes, she starts getting more attached to the family and some feelings towards the Captain start growing in her heart, but she tries to avoid them focusing on the kids as much as she can. And it isn´t till the Baronesse (the woman Von Trapp is engaged to) talks with her about Von Trapp´s attraction towards her, when Maria realizes the depth of her feelings for him. She feels as she can´t bear it anymore so she decides to leave the house and runs back to the convent.
She returns filled with doubts and spends some days in solitude, trying to hide her feelings and clear up her mind. But eventually she has to go to the Mother Abbess, who is willing to know why she came back before it was planned. Maria confesses she couldn´t stay there any longer because she was confused and frightened in a way she never felt before. She says “i knew that here i´d be away from it. i’d be safe…i can’t face him again”, so after those words (which are clearly referring to the Captain) the Mother Abbess explains her that the monastery walls werent built to hide from the world.
Even though those are one of the most revealing words she could have said, Maria seems reluctant to them cause she feels as if the only way in which she could show her love for God was by becoming a nun. But the Mother Abbess explains her how married life is just as holy as monastic life, and that choosing the first one doesn´t mean she loves God any less, so she simply has to find out the way He has designed for her.
She still begs to stay there, but thankfully the Mother Abbess doesn´t give up easily and tells her the monastery isn´t a place to hide from her problems, and that instead she has to face them. So she suggests her to go back with the Captain and stay where her heart really is, and says one of my favorite (and most enlightening) quotes: “You have to live the life you were born to live”. Aren´t these powerful words?. And they are the ones i want to share with you today.
So if you are one of those who had enough patience to read till this point (thank you, you are one to admire haha), and is wondering what all of this has to do with you. Or if the thoughts that are crossing your mind look more or less like this: “seriously, she thought joining a convent would ever cross my mind..or that i could relate to a story as cheesy as that?”, then i have something to say to you.
My dear reader, as i think of the movie i ask myself, how many times i´ve been acting the same way as Maria, how many times i´m so obstinate thinking i have to do “that thing” because it is more “holy”, or “admired” or “easy”, instead of doing what i was really born to do.
I believe we all have our own “convent”, our refugee, the place where we hide ourselves from the world. Maybe our convent is a person, a relationship, a job, or even a material thing; it is where we feel safe or what we think we must cling to. But it is so very important to listen to ourselves and ask if what we are doing is really what we were called to do.
I wish this was as easy as it sounds, but the truth is that sometimes it is difficult to discover it by our own. We are sometimes so stubborn, that we may need the help of someone else who recognizes gifts inside us that we personally cannot see or loves us enough to found out we are going in the wrong direction. This is so very well expressed in the movie, cause if it wasn´t for the Mother Abbess (who saw Maria´s potential and realized she wasn´t really following her call) maybe she would have never taken the risk to go out of the convent.
When i ask others what would they think if Maria had never gone out and the whole movie took place inside the convent, they usually say they wouldn´t even watch the movie, that it would be too boring or it wouldn´t make sense at all. And that´s exactly what i think it would happen with our lives if we never did what we were called to do.
When i personally think of what would have happened if she didn´t go out of the convent, i imagine she would maybe have been happy or had a beautiful life as a nun, but she definitely wouldn´t be living it to the fullest. She wouldn´t be expressing her own gifts and pouring them to the world, cause she would have been in the wrong place just for the fear of facing her call.
I believe we all have different gifts. Unfortunately, sometimes we see some gifts in others that we like, and so we want to do the same they do cause we wrongly think that´s an easier, more valuable or holy path. But the truth is God gave VALUABLE and unique gifts to everyone. And it would be such a waste if our fear made us too blind to use them along our lives.
As the movie teaches us, there are different ways to express love on this earth and we have to find our own. Sometimes it won´t be easy and it will probably take us out from our comfort zone, but just think about Maria for a moment and how much she would have lost if she never took the risk to embrace her call. So remember that “when the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window”; open your heart to listen to your own voice or the voice of those around you. If they tell you they don´t see you fully alive where you are at, take time to think if they could be in any way right.
So before i finish this very long text, i invite you to ask yourself two simple questions: First, are you genuinely happy doing what you do? and, second are you sure this is what you were called to do, or is it more what you think you should do?. And in case those questions were negative take a moment to ask yourself, when do you feel the happiest?. The answer is probably what this life is waiting for you to do.
I think this is one of the lessons the movie can teach to us: we see Maria, obstinate to stay at the convent, when the truth is that her gifts can´t be expressed inside the convent walls. Contrary to what she first thought, it is when she goes out that she brings much more light and love to the world and when she finds the ultimate joy.
Cause that is true; we are happiest when we do what we were called to do, what we´ve been gifted with. So today my wish for you is that you embrace your true calling, whatever it might be. I want nothing more than to know you are being the person God created you to be and that you are living the life YOU WERE BORN TO LIVE.
I want to dedicate this post to Br. Robert, a priest who passed away some months ago in a very unexpected way. A priest who was a big fan of this movie and who lived the life he was born to live to the fullest (even though it was a very short one). Thanks for having the courage to do so, thanks for inspiring and bringing life to others with your presence. I always imagine you singing and dancing all these lovely songs in heaven.