Eyes Wide Open

People realize important things toward the end of their life if they’re fortunate. And it’s no trick. It’s the way God uses time to explain His ultimate glorious design…

However some people never have those epiphanies. And it kills them from the inside out. And then in other cases other sorts of people realize something gruesome and that kills them.

F. Scott Fitzgerald begged for an epiphany when he wrote The Crack-Up. But I don’t think he ever got one. And in a tumultuous fit of desperation while reaching for true love he got caught up with his last love and their dysfunction eventually killed him. He wasn’t strong enough to take the stress of that last relationship. Physically. And so his heart stopped working completely. At age 41 he died. And all he ever wanted most of all was just love…

As I’ve written about, some people get something about themselves horribly wrong, sometimes for sympathetic reasons, and so life drives them slowly insane over time. Because it never all adds up right. And in the dark, quiet moments the eerie, ugly, tragic truth makes them feel profoundly alone. They fall for the heartbreaking lies of others laid dramatically on a silver platter for noble reasons. And then they let themselves be used to better others…because they don’t think they matter all that much anyway. Or they’re “all wrong” and need to be “straightened out.” And then…in their old age they see beauty for the first time.

In the film “Eyes Wide Shut” Stanley Kubrick depicts an elite secret society of Satanic sex. But Dr. Harford was in awe of it. And just like his wife was overtaken by thoughts of a Naval Officer Dr. Harford found eerie truth in those moments he witnessed.

Imagine if he’d somehow never seen passionate, real heterosexual sex before. In person, at least. Maybe he’d seen some things vaguely. Maybe he’d seen so-called “meaningless sex.” Or partook in dull acts between himself and a partner who was more interested than he was. Or perhaps he’d even felt inappropriately obligated and forced. But…what if the passion he saw even if ritualistic and intentionally supernatural was his only glimpse at what he was meant for as a as himself all along? How horrific would that be?

In Dr. Harford’s case it was a more authentic connection he was searching for whether he’d realized that yet or not. The model’s sacrifice haunted him. Felt more real than his flawed marriage. And while the film ends with the couple seemingly happy the actors divorced in real life. And I’d bet the film would have taken a similar path as well, had it gone on. But, again, what if Dr. Harford had never been even as happy as he was in his somewhat flawed marriage?

Would he have killed himself eventually? Would he not the model have been the one to die? That’s what happened to Scott Fitzgerald. Over time he gradually became increasingly disenchanted with life the more he saw the ugly flaws and witnessed other people’s beauty. And while he died sober, he drank himself to death slowly anyway on gin.