The Power & Joy of Rewind

How many of you, as soon as you finish watching an enjoyable movie or reading a good book, automatically feel like taking that trip again? Or you find yourself revisiting the very same restaurants and tourist sites – just because you enjoyed them before. And, of course, we all know how much we can enjoy a song played and replayed many times.

Heraclitus said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.”  When we get lost in a story or a song, it is a highly interactive experience. We feel. We react. Old memories are triggered. We imagine ‘what if.’ We touch spots in our psyche that need touching. For three minutes, 90 minutes or however long it takes to finish a book. Then we come home again, back to our ‘real’ lives – but now we breathe a little easier or have a new kind of hope.

Way back in 1976, as a young mom, I went to see Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July. It was hard to watch. I physically shrunk and cringed and I left the theater haunted. The next day I went to see it again. And again. I had no idea why – but I just knew I had to rehear that story. After 12 times, I went on a journey to better understand the Vietnam war. I read the history. I set up meetings with men who had fought there – who had killed others and who had been shot themselves. I wanted to understand how they could then find peace and move on without wanting to tear down our political systems. They were generous and blunt.

Eventually – I reached the end. There is a scene in the movie that shows little boys playing with toy soldiers. It seemed innocuous enough at the time. Ultimately I realized that was my real pain point – that haunting image. I, as a woman, was participating in a culture that taught little boys that they were expendable. It was an ‘aha’ moment. I buckled up and moved on – and into my lifelong exploration of everyday culture. 

So, we may not understand why we are called to revisit a song or a story. It may be a part of you that needs a little time. A part that needs your attention. 

Or – it might just be that you really like that beat. It’s easy to dance to. In either case, it’s good for you. Go for it.

Check out this article by Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post, Go ahead, watch that movie again – research shows you’ll enjoy it more than you think.

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