Green Light = Hope

GatsbyHaving just watched The Great Gatsby with fresh young faces, I am reminded of just how timeless that story is. My 16 year old son sat beside me, reciting his favorite lines, filling in the blanks where the director’s cut lines short. For example, when Nick sees Gatsby reaching toward s the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, Nick says “He seemed to be reach out for something” which in the book is followed by “minute and far away.” (i.e. visible but just out of reach – my son’s clarification for me!) Hope – always just there, the next goal or dream a flicker but just out of reach, even if just in that moment. I had the strongest sense of connection; my mind began reeling, realizing how true that rings to me, especially right now.
Each of us in our way always sees the shining green light in the distance, and as goals are attained, a new goal/dream/green light shines brightly in the distance. There are days and times when the light seems or feels less pronounced, when a fog or mist or storm rolls in, seemingly blocking it out. Sometimes we get turned around, our internal compass accidentally pointing us in the wrong direction, completely blinding an ability to see or locate that green light. And then, when the storm lifts and the compass is righted, the green light is there once again. It is in those moments when all seems right in the world. Maybe this point of perspective is old news, maybe this is an “Ah ha” moment for me…but the message was so clear that it caught me off guard. (Don’t you love when that happens?) Maybe it’s that for the first time in a long time I can see that green light so perfectly in my own life that the symbolism of it really hit home. I used to call these my “midnight epiphanies” but since it was around 9pm, I can’t this time.
At one point in my life, my hopes and dreams were solely focused inward. Now, my green light shines solely on my boys and the future I can only hope they create for themselves. Today for example, my light was temporarily blocked…my oldest son is really floundering right now. He is 19, the awkward age where you are not technically a “grown up” but you are no longer regarded as a member of the “teenage” group either. For kids who are like me, school was easy, and the transition went smoothly from high school to college to life. For kids like my son who struggled with school, the transition is more difficult. Knowing my son needs some extra help with this, I talked to my supervisor about cutting back my hours at work, temporarily…the goal being to explore options. He needs an advocate to take those entry level steps with him and then, he will be fine…I thought, “I will be that advocate!” (green light thinking) My supervisor recommended FMLA and let me know I would need a note from a doctor about my son’s “condition” and “need for an advocate” to not jeopardize my job. (red light) I explained my scenario again to which she admitted she had misunderstood my request and our initial conversation; saying she understood my goal (green light) but that my weekly hours must be worked to avoid jeopardizing my job. GGRRR! I’m not deterred though and will do whatever I must to ensure my son’s future. While it isn’t my responsibility alone, I know that my hopes and dreams for him probably exceed his own, and he will need to be more engaged to make that happen. For me, the green light is shining brightly, and I won’t be deterred. Onward and upward, moving my son forward. What happened today was a light mist that could have dimmed that green light but instead fueled that intensity for me.
It’s about hope and change, red light green light, mist/storms and sunshine, an internal compass and always reaching for those goals and aspirations. The image during Gatsby was so breathtaking…I had forgotten the beautiful images, real and metaphorical, the lines that resonate, the memories that a simple movie image or line generates. Clearly for me, it was the hope and the horizon, the gap (lake) between what is and what could be, what might’ve been. But it was the promise of the green light, the knowledge of what is to come, and watching my sons reaching out towards that own green lights that really resonated with me. I felt a moment of hope, a moment of promise, a moment of empowerment for my sons and what lay next for them. The green light, just a timeless image…troubling, moving, stirring, and on occasion a little scary, but always there, just there, shining minute and faraway.

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