Before I went to ministry school, I was offered an opportunity to travel the country with a group called Silver Ring Thing. They were a group, much to my excitement, dedicated to protecting virginity and teaching teens to wait until marriage for most kinds of affection. It was common in this purity culture to feel that relationships in general were dangerous for your heart, your sexuality and your faith.
It’s become a bit of a cliché to mention but the truth is that as you grow older, you change. Your opinions, dreams, friendships they morph and mutate until, sometimes, they’re unrecognizable. I know that growing up, life for me was frustrating. I suppose I had a lot of the same core that I have found in myself today. I was generally kind, enjoyed coloring, and was especially obsessive over movies. But judgment was never far from my mind. I found a reason to look down on each and every person I ever sought to build up. And, knowing my own hypocrisy kept me from really becoming a truly real person. It was when I first felt the idea for PVX Pearls taking root in my mind, that I sought impartiality. Prior to that moment, I had actually been taught that tolerance was a poison spreading throughout society as an affront to Christian values. Kinda backwards thinking about it now.
It was through this attitude that I viewed absolutely everything with eyes of judgment at first glance. And then, upon reflection and consistency, I learned to fall completely in love with everything I at first despised. That is the deep truth written within my heart, the pearl within a thousand oysters, starting with the movie Moulin Rouge.
I remember the day my friend had me listen to the music. I was so disgusted by the plotline. He falls for a “courtesan” (that’s just a fancy prostitute!)
It’s interesting to realize that we somehow deem certain kinds of people unworthy or too dirty for love. First off, a story of a man who treats a prostitute with kindness and falls in love with her is not too far from an allegorical interpretation of the biblical book of Hosea. Secondly, it is incredibly pompous to suggest that certain people should not be allowed to experience love, by virtue of their circumstances. But, these were not lessons I had thus far learned.
Instead, I was appalled by the rauchiness of the club where the woman Satine worked as a courtesan (a high-class prostitute), confused by the random side plots and disgusted by the idea that a man could ever fall in love with someone who was so… well dirty.
Weeks went by, and try I might, I couldn’t get the songs to stop playing hauntingly in my mind. Then, I watched Moulin Rouge and I felt the pain of living as a prostitute, the romance of protective jealousy, and discovered the beautiful randomness that is life.
It was letting that first movie in that helped me to overcome my automatic attitude of judgment and indifference. It was allowing Moulin Rouge to speak that started my heart on this journey towards finding pearls in everything always.
Soon, I was viewing all media from this perspective. And I saw that each and every media expression is the product of hard work and incredible vulnerability from every single person involved. We all are imbued with a dream in our hearts and a story to tell. Movies especially capture that beauty so that we can see other views from a positive perspective. Many of us are wary and incredulous about any views that differ from our own. Hollywood provides a forum through which to discuss those uncomfortable things we all struggle to understand.
Moulin Rouge was a standout for me because the characters are very vulnerable and so, in my opinion is the story itself. No one is made to seem spotless, it’s a story of love that hurdles the obstacles come what may.