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Thursday, September 29, 2005

A great quote from a great movie

This bit of script is saved on my hard drive because I never want to forget it. It's from Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin in the Sun with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands and the unmatched Claudia McNeil. The scene is where Diana Sands as Beneatha Younger bitterly dismisses her brother, Walter Lee (portrayed by the inimitable Poitier), as nothing but "a rat" after he says he will take the white council's money in exchange for the black family not moving into the all-white neighborhood. This after he's lost most of his dead father's insurance money in a cruel swindle. The disheartened Walter Lee thinks he's learned an important lesson in life: that those who rule are those who are willing to do anything and everything for the almighty dollar - even sell their soul.

The matriarch, Lena, is in despair at her children's soullessness, but is even more disheartened to hear her daughter disparage her only brother. And Lena's voice reverberates as she intones to her wayward daughter who says there is nothing left of her brother to love:

There is always something left to love.
And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing.
Have you cried for that boy today?
I don't mean for yourself and for the family
'cause we done lost the money.
I mean for him; what he been through and what it done to him.
Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most;
when they done good and made things easy for everybody?
Well then, you ain't through learning...
because that ain't the time at all.
It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so.
When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right,
Child, measure him right.
Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to whereever he is.

Two things I take away from this beautiful passage:

It is always so easy to love someone during easy times and when they've done good by you. But the true measure of love is when a person is at his or her most unloveable, when they truly need the love you can give.

The second lesson: It's called "walking in someone else's shoes," something many of us forget to do at times. Check how that shoe feels, how it may pinch the toes, how it may be slightly turned over, how it may trip you up because the heel is worn. Measure all of that so you can rightly measure someone else's journey and how he or she got to where they happen to be.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/29/2005 07:22:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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