Powerless…A Great Comfort

Anthony Hopkins just has a way of saying things, and I’m talking beyond the famous Hannibal Lecter Chianti line. One phrase that has stayed with me, and that I can still hear in my head at will, is from Meet Joe Black. As Bill Parish at his birthday celebration, he muses to his guests, “Sixty-five years. Don’t they go by in a blink?” That ‘go by in a blink’ part – so simple, and says so much. Especially with Sir Anthony Hopkins saying it.

Another line that I carry with me is not from any character, but from the man himself. While being interviewed by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio, he made a passing comment that, “We’re all totally powerless, that’s the great comfort.”

That does sort of take the pressure off doesn’t it? If whatever happens is really out of our control, then doesn’t that mean our choices, our decisions don’t really matter? We can’t make a mistake then, right? There do certainly seem to be times when an outcome happens despite our best intentions to the contrary. And times when different paths all lead to the same destination, no matter how roundabout the journey may be. All roads lead to Rome or something like that.

Not to absolve ourselves of all responsibility or anything, and use our lack of power as an excuse for any action or inaction, but to be comforted by the destiny aspect of it all, however we may perceive it. For aren’t there times when things just seem to go way beyond coincidence, if coincidence even exists?

Even little mundane things can make us pause and wonder. Times when the thought of someone flashes through your mind as a phone rings, some person you haven’t talked to in ages, and then you pick up the phone and you hear that voice. Premonition? Some distant and mysterious communication? Something much more? Whatever it may be, you thought of that person at the precise moment that person thought of you. How can that be something we control? Then again, maybe we have some heretofore undiscovered telepathic abilities…

But I kind of like Anthony Hopkins’ way of thinking about this life. Take great comfort in our lack of power. For maybe that truly means that whatever is supposed to be, will be…and is.

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