A few months ago, I watched the movie "Dirty Dancing" for the first time. Considering how many years it has been since the movie was first released to theaters, you may consider this either a tragedy, or a major achievement. It is quite safe to say that I really, really like the movie. It is one of those few movies that has an uncanny ability to lift my spirits and generally bring a smile to my face.
Until recently, my thoughts on the movie consisted primarily of "it makes me feel good, so I like it". But recently -- tonight, in fact -- something just "clicked" in my brain. I finally realized what it was about the movie that really affected me.
That is hope. The realization that if one is patient enough with the lot given to them in life, every so often you'll stumble across one of those extra special moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Exactly what those moment are vary widely from person to person. For some, it could be that churning sensation deep in your gut when you had your first kiss, or the feeling of accomplishment when your peers recognize a particularly difficult achievement, or the first few moment holding a newborn son or daughter.
However, it is very easy to get so wrapped up in the other aspects of life that you forget about those precious, but infrequent "magic moments". Maybe it is the barrage of little highs and lows in life that are distracting, or maybe you've hit a point so emotionally low that it is virtually impossible to hope for a meaningful improvement.
Personally, I've sampled both the distraction of daily life and deeply depressed sides of the coin. If left alone, my moods tend to gradually drift toward the darker side of the scale. If happy for too long a time, I start to worry about the other shoe dropping. If things are "so so" for too long, I'll get restless and stir crazy. But when down in the dumps, it is rather difficult to remember that it too shall pass, and better times are just around the corner.
For some reason, Dirty Dancing has a way of sneaking in and reminding me that if patient enough, life is bound to send something wonderful my direction. Certainly it is not the only thing that has this effect on me. Little, unprovoked signs of affection also have a similar impact. What is unique about Dirty Dancing is that it is just about the only movie I've seen that can make that claim.