Living in LA LA LAND?

la-la-land-2-17It’s already garnered a garrison of gongs and is hotly-tipped for the Oscars. It’s a film about dreams: their power — and their fragility.

Can a dream be powerful? We tend to think of them as frail, wispy things, prone to flit away or be extinguished by the first rough gust of reality. And yes, dreams are often fragile. In the film, love-struck pair Mia and Sebastian both fondly cradle one: Mia to be a film star, Sebastian to run a jazz club. And in a rough, tough, Hollywood world full of wannabes chasing that elusive chance, we see Mia at the sharp end of several blasé half-listening casting directors’ whims. Such a dream receives little nurture, is liable to be crushed, and will flower to fruition for only a dazzlingly lucky few.

As it happens, in this story their dreams DO come true (it’s Hollywood – funny that!). But it raises a question. What about all those not so star-kissed? Doomed merely to pine over shattered dreams? Or is there a more hopeful possibility? Might there just be, for each of us, a dream past all imagining that CAN come true?

Paradoxically, though film stardom in particular might strike most as ambitious, in a sense I think they actually both need a bigger dream.

There’s a magical scene in the film where our two lovers are whisked upward in a planetarium to dance among the stars. Beautiful, fantastical — pure escapism you might say. Yet it points to a great truth: however unrealistic it seems, we seek out wonder and transcendence. We can’t help ourselves. So where is the real deal found?

The world dangles various shimmering mirages before our eyes, and perfectly laudable opportunities too. But might there may be another dream, rooted elsewhere? A deeper purpose to our lives? I dare to believe there’s a ‘dream’ beyond money, fame or anything the world has to offer. One that beckons me on, as the child CS Lewis felt stirring in his spirit when he gazed at the pale distant hills in his native Ireland. None of the baubles we see now can shine a candle to it.

In this dream I’m not hanging on the whim of a crabby casting director (with a limited shelf life), but held in the grasp of infinite Love. And in the context of this larger dream, rooted in a security and worth from beyond, our smaller dreams — film star, jazz club owner, or indeed whatever — draw nourishment too.

Heaven knows we needs some good dreams right now. A dream’s a fragile thing — but rooted in and shaped for eternity, there are few things more powerful. Dream on, I say.

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