I love that feeling. That feeling you have when you've come out of your tempest, having fallen asleep in the unknown darkness that ensues, and then awakened to that sense of newness, freedom, enlightenment, growth--the sunshine of the dawn tickling your neck and then engulfing your body.
I saw a play on Broadway recently--Peter and the Starcatchers. My new favorite thing. It tells the story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. From the moment the play begins, truth emanates.
I've always been fascinated with the story, as well as with the fascination it holds for so many. "Peter Pan" was the first book I read, my favorite movie growing up, the first musical I directed, and the subject of one of my favorite stories that I tell. I am so grateful this play has made the "Peter Pan Faves" list.
I can tell that I have the potential to start waxing very poetical here, so I'm just gonna give you the goods straight. This is what I learned from my latest encounter with Peter, the boy who never grew up (and how he became for me "the boy who almost grew up"), as well as Molly, the courageous starcatching girl. (Warning: plot spoilers.)
There are two points in the show when the characters make an important decision that affects themselves and others that they love. The first is when Molly decides to tell the orphan boy on the ship (with whom she feels a strange and intense connection) that she is an apprentice starcatcher, and all the meaning and information that comes with that knowledge. She debates within herself for a few moments, then states "Decision." and tells him. She decides to be vulnerable. To share her deepest and most beloved secret. To open up to him. To trust him. May we all decide thus.
The second time is when Peter uses the word back. Molly has been fiercely protecting the trunk of starstuff and trying to save everyone else, and then is captured by Captain Black-Stache. He will slit her throat unless he gets the trunk. Peter--who has been wanting the starstuff so he can fulfill his dreams of having a family and being free and loved--runs over to the trunk, pushes it in front of Stache, and stares into Molly's eyes stating, "Decision." Stache let's her go, recognizing the sacrifice of a hero--the nemesis he's been waiting for. (A whole 'nother story.) Peter decides to sacrifice his utmost desires to save Molly. May we all choose to love and sacrifice thus.
"It's supposed to hurt--that means it meant something."
As Molly's heart breaks when she realizes that Peter has to stay on the Island and can't come home with them, she says this to Peter and her Father. How my heart reaches out to that precious girl on the stage and all other girls and boys that feel and hurt because we loved and risked. Take heart, it meant something.
"Yes, I wanted to" : Molly's Courage and Peter's Feelings
At one point Molly impulse kisses Peter and when he tries to bring it up later, she shuts him down pretty hard and doesn't want to talk about it. He asks her, implying, if she wanted to kiss him again. She doesn't really answer. Right before she leaves Peter, she runs up to him and kisses him again, saying, "Yes, I wanted to." Then, tears streaming down her face, she runs back to her father, and they leave Peter on the Island. I recently read that the original definition of courage is "to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Molly has the courage to tell her whole heart.
As Peter, too, has tears streaming down his face, he watches them leave and then crumples to the floor. A narrator says that this is the closest the boy ever came to being what he hated--a grown up.
"To have faith is to have wings"
Molly says this as she is first showing the boy her starcatcher powers and her father says it to Peter as they are leaving him on the Island and Peter is questioning his fate. How freaking deep is this line. Just suck on it for your whole life, okay?
For me, this is it. This is my golden nugget at the paradox of Peter vs. Wendy. Be a child or Be a grown up. Decision: Have faith. Be as a little child. In the reality of growing up, we can be reminded how to fly through having the faith of a child.
"To live will be an awfully big adventure"
As Peter marvels at what was just told to him, the possible fulfilling of the promise made to him by the mermaid in the Lagoon that he could fly, the lost boys gather around him. They lift him up as he says, "Boys, to live will be an awfully big adventure!"
I yearn to see the world this way. To wake up every morning with the faith of a child and the courage to live life embracing it as an awfully big adventure, with all it's risks and tempests and heart breaks and moments of feeling the glorious sun.