The Thorn Birds

The Thorn Birds   Leave it to Richard Chamberlain get my creative juices flowing again!  For years, the Shogun series was the filet-a la- mon-dvd-collection.  But with this television adaptation from Colleen McCullough’s bestselling novel, I willingly and without shame, covet this movie to the deepest recesses of my bosom.  The more a movie or book makes you think about your life and namely… the choices and struggles that one must make for yourself…for God… or even without God… the more I cherish it and the more frequently its message is replayed and replayed during my contemplative moments.

For those whom have not seen the 1983 tv series or the dvd release, here’s a quick synopsis from its back cover:  

A priest is torn between God and human passion.  A beautiful girl desiring only what she cannot have.  Five decades of ambition, fear, longing and revenge. … Magnificent. Stirring, sexual, sensual and sensational raves Jerry Krupnich of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Undoubtedly one of my favorite moments of the movie is the story of the Thorn Bird itself (and its metaphoric relevance to Life).  Chamberlain’s character, Priest Ralph de Bricassart says (to Meggie):

There’s a story…a legend, about a bird that sings just once in its life.  From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree… and never rests until it has found one. And then it sings… more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth.  And singing, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest thorn.  But, as it dies, it rises above its own agony, to outsing the lark and the nightingale.  The thorn bird pays its life for just one song, but the whole world stills to listen, and God in heaven smiles.

And Meggie asks: “What does it mean, Father?”  …to which de Bricassart replies;

That the best… is bought only at the cost of great pain.

     A long time have I thought about Life and its relation to pain…. of how pain reveals Life to us… and of the power Love has of trampling pain’s very existence.. albeit in brief moments… but in those fleeting moments, Life is revealed in the most luminous and intoxicating fashion.  

     My second favorite moment in the series comes from veteren actress Barbara Stanwyck to Father de Bricassart (whom she lusts for):

Let me tell you something about old age (plays 75yr.old, Mary Cleary) and that God of yours. Inside this stupid body, I am still young… I still feel.  I still want.

This argument hit strongly not only because it was delivered by such a strong actress, but because she admitted to what she was (and what we hadn’t yet seen)… a person of feeling.  We see age as wrinkles, as years… gradually accumulated… gravity making its unfortunate mark on the body.  What we don’t see and what we can’t feel until it is our time… is that we are still the very same “us” that we once were.  The lover inside still lives… one can say that it matures… but really that is only our mind that does so.  I don’t believe my mind could ever convince my inner-nature,… the youthful sprite incapsulated in my aging body… that physical affection and surely the wants and desires of the human heart could or should be repressed.  Find the one you truly love and see how long you can resist the act of showing your love.  Or not… because I find this complete and inhumane torture.  

Anybody have thoughts, opinions, or comments on the movie/ t.v. series?    Anyone have comments on the comments I’ve made in this blog?   I can’t wait to hear from you all !

Peace and Love, Always.  

Coach Michael Joyce

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~ by chencenter on July 5, 2008.

7 Responses to “The Thorn Birds”

  1. Well, I know what would happen if my boyfriend and me tried to not show any affection……we would last 5 seconds!

    I agree with you on that statement about the mind maturing but still have the heart still on the edge of its chair waiting for the next emotion. OUr hearts were built to keep us alive, keep us intact with our spiritual selfs, and most of all; they were built to love. Our bodies are not timeless….life has its hour glass. So why should two people greatly in love torture themselves by holding back the gift and ability that GOD himself installed in every human being? So the heart IS timeless even though our minds mature. My boyfriend is 10 years older than me and even though he is just a little more mature than be becuase he has more years packed in than me, his heart is free. He is young and loving and that is one of the great things about our relationship. His wisdom and advise helps assure me in my troubles while our spirits keep us both young. I cant imagine falling in love with someone who not only loves you back, but doesnt have the freedom to venture out on it. That is pure turture. I feel for the female charachter in the movie.

  2. The truth is that suffering makes you find out who you are. When you suffer a lot, you reach a stage where time stops, and you rise above the suffering in order to survive. It seems that it is at those times that we are most vulnerable to falling in love.
    Love transforms us, it expands our ability to survive, and then it permeates every cell in our bodies.
    The more we love the more we expand, but only if we can truly love, and not possess our loved one.
    It is through selfless love that we become timeless and then our bodies are not so important. It is only the vehicle we ocupy in this dimension. Our senses are constantly telling us that all of this is impermanent, except love. Love is what holds the soul intact until it returns to its Divine Source.
    We have to learn to trust each other before love in its purest form can flourish.
    With that said……… many people do you truly trust?

    Thanks for the posting.

  3. Okay! Finally I give you my response! 🙂
    (Warning: This is an embarassingly stereotypical cliched answer haha 🙂

    And I have never actually heard of The Thorn Birds(borrow? 🙂
    So my response is what I got out of what you said in this particular blog, which as usual is deep and inspiring.

    Now to my response finally haha-

    Love truly transcends anything and everything, it sees past things like age, appearance, race, religion, time, job, etc. For some reason love just blows all that away and leaves the soul of another exposed. Love releases the past, looks to the future and treasures the present. And when a love like that is found- and a person even tries to hold that love back, then they are literally destroying themselves.
    I think that each and every human has been given the capability to love and that when something is right and you know it in your heart, you shouldn’t ignore it or push it away. Love just is. In the end, all it comes down to is the heart and soul loving freely and trusting in another. And even if one’s soul is hidden behind an aging body or a hard shell of doubt or an appearance- in the end true love is determined by two souls falling in love, not the superficial things. The heart doesn’t age, or look a certain way or have set-in-stone beliefs- the heart just loves. Even if on the outside it is not so apparent. Love just is.

    And as for suffering, it is the only way to learn and to figure out what you need in life. And when the suffering happens to be for love or loss or trust, that’s when a person digs deeply into their soul and figures it out piece by piece.

  4. Well, I’ve just reseen the movie after 10 years. For 2 weeks I’m thinking about it more than I should.
    Finnaly I will send an opinion about how feelings and suffering go together , hand in hand .
    thanks. TEO

  5. I watched TB when it originally aired in 1983 (I was 22 at the time) and only a year or so away from meeting my future husband who is 11 years older than I. In May 83 I was reading and re-reading the TB (book) and just couldn’t put it down. It haunted me. I failed a Differential Equations final because I literally could not put the book down the night before the final. I rented the VHS about 10 years ago maybe – I watched it then and I don’t remember it bothering me. But about 6 weeks ago, I got the book out again. I went online and found the DVD was available; I bought the DVD and I have been obsessing over it and the book for 6 weeks now. My family thinks I’m nuts.

    All I can say is this: I can’t believe that I was younger than Meggie was on Matlock Island the first time I read the book; now I’m older than she was the last time she and Ralph were “together” and my husband is now the same age Ralph was then. Where has the time gone?

    And I can see so many mirrors of my life in the book. Am I like Fee? Am I like Meggie? or Justine? I can see a little of myself in all of them. I think I might even be a bit like Ralph, too – and maybe a little like Luke! This time around the book/movie has caused me to do some much-needed soul-searching.

    I hate to think I’m like Mary Carson in any way, yet I can surely identify more now with her statement about how age cheats us of the pleasures of a young body yet our minds are still young! We still feel, we still want, we still love!

  6. I’ve never seen the show or the movie but from what u have said I understand. U are very true in what u say because for I don’t think age matters. It’s whats on the inside that counts. And what u take away the flesh and the bones…and maybe even more than that. U find ur true self. It’s that inner child who stays the free spirit it was when u were one or eighteen. As we grow and learn more about life and ourselves…it grows with us. But the child that keeps wanting and who’s always goig to want to know all there is to know, will still be there. Wrinkles and old age isn’t going to take that away from anyone. Just think of it as a new stage. I know when I’m very old that I’ll still think of myself as that young free spirited girl I was when I was ten or five. But with that thought I would or should I say should think of all the things I’ve acommplished and how much I’ve matured. I won’t think of the gray hairs in my hair or how many wrinkles I have at the sides of my eyes when I smile or laugh. Instead I’ll think of that inner me waiting to fly up to the skys of Heaven. I’ll think of ME not my body or my age…and ME is the girl I was and am…

  7. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.
    Any suggestions?

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