Updated: Sep 22, 2021
“I saw the horizon. It’s out there. And though I may not ever be able to touch it, it’s worth reaching for.”
— From “At first sight”, starring Val Kilmer
A stumble on the road
Every once in a while, life makes you stumble upon a unique gem that you didn't expect to find. Part of what makes this feeling so pleasant, is due precisely to its unexpected condition, to that surprise that undresses before our eyes. When fortune smiles at me like this, I make sure to savor the moment, and to mint that jewel with special candor and devotion.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across one of these jewels. It was necessary for me to observe it carefully, to examine it carefully, because the dust from the road disguised its hidden brightness. It almost looked like another stone, but just by dusting it a little, its glow immediately shone.
Today I would like to share what I found, and why it illuminated my life. Hopefully, this will illuminate yours too.
I was only 12 when I met "Iceman". His antagonism with "Maverick", the kind of guy all kids my age wanted to be, portrayed the usual rivalry between the main character and his designated rival . Iceman was bathed in his own ego, who breathed arrogance and self-sufficiency, with a clear contempt for anything that was not perfect. His attitude was, in many cases, that of a "bully."
And that was the image of Val that prevailed forever in my retinas, even after seeing this excellent actor in various and different roles, some with touches of that conceited pilot, and others absolutely distant from such a character.
I was surprised to learn about her health issues when I saw this self-referential documentary, even though I had heard some news about his battle against that despicable, sometimes almost invincible monster that is cancer. But what did shake me was seeing the deep humanity and indisputable sensitivity of this gentleman, letting his heart bare his life. It was shocking to see the former Iceman acknowledging his miseries and showing his gallantry by not offering excuses for his mistakes. But there was still more to unveil.
A love story
Above all things, I realized that this was the true treasure, because behind the suffering and hardships he has gone through, and still is, love can be found in every corner, word and silence.
To explain myself better, let's say that this story shows a dedicated and perfectionist professional, an actor devoted in body and soul to his performances, absolutely in love with his craft, and surrendered without qualms to the art of acting. Likewise, we see a man aware that, like the thousands of recordings that make up his gigantic archive, life is made up of moments and, each one of them, deserves to be lived in a unique way. Which brings me back to love, since it is enough to see how he, on multiple occasions, turns into a child, excited, smiling, and full of happiness in the mere presence of his children.
And the love for the present, the right now, for those unique, unrepeatable moments, also shines through. The love of enjoying the occasional company, of today’s sunshine, of having opened your eyes yet one more day.
A call to pause
Today, in a world where waiting, patience, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and so many, many other virtues seem to be on the brink of extinction, stopping to think about the ephemerality of EVERYTHING would be a good choice. Just thinking about it for a couple of minutes of that time that, according to what is being sold to us, we no longer have. Val knows it and, at least for me, he seems to want to yell that at us. That everything passes. That everything changes. That everything ends. And that you have to love.
Today, we don’t wait anymore. Everything has to happen now, immediately. Our addiction to immediacy is such that, even when we are texting, we need a three-dot animation letting us know that, on the other end, someone is answering us at that very moment.
We cannot wait anymore. We no longer know how to do it.
Has it occurred to us that, in the whirlwind of the pursuit of “everything instantaneous”, we have lost the enjoyment of the moment, of waiting? Because realities change. They pass, they languish, and they go away.
So many plans to achieve our goals, and so few thoughts for the road toward them.
These times of pandemic have been very special for me – as for everybody - but, also, they have resulted in a very deep introspection of myself. There are perspectives that I did not have access to and that I can now enjoy, priorities that have changed, many miseries that have surfaced and, fortunately, some glimpses of true hope and promising changes.
Strange and rare feeling to look at yourself in the mirror, straight into your eyes, and finally, - finally! -, being able to SEE YOU.
A new horizon
If in the face of adversity, we can get up unscathed; if in the presence of pain, we still manage to smile; if despite the reality of disappointment, we can still risk believing, there is more than hope.
I would like you to treat yourself and see this documentary, and to enjoy it. Because, I’ll say it again, beyond the pain and hardships, you’ll be able to find, although sometimes hidden, a hymn to hope, a declaration of love for life, and an ode to love. Just dust it off a bit, and you'll see the precious rock sparkle.
There is certainty of victory.
Gems like this are rare and precious these days. Few remain, and I plan to treasure them with zeal and determination.
Cheers, Mr Kilmer!
And thank you, thank you very much, for that stumble along the way.
Val Edward Kilmer (born Dec. 31,1959) is an American actor, one of the most prolific of his generation. His documentary "Val" is available in Amazon Prime.