I have loved “Gone with the Wind” since I was a little girl – and have watched the nearly 4-hour film at LEAST 20 times. And like most women my age, I have admired and related to Scarlett the most. Her spirit, her passion and determination are qualities I have always prided myself on. Not to mention, she’s beautiful. And has the perfect man, Rhett Butler madly in love with her. That scene at Twelve Oaks when he watches her walk up the stairs with a grin on his face that says – “I have your number, and I love it….” But I digress.
I watched the epic film again this weekend with my roommate, as Hurricane Irene blew through New York City. It seemed appropriate. And we had hours on our hands to wait and see how much damage would actually occur. I was struck by 2 things this viewing:
1. This movie never gets old. Never. The story, writing and casting is brilliant. And it’s 70 years old! If you haven’t seen it, you must.
2. Melanie is the real heroine.
Now don’t get me wrong – I adore Scarlett (Vivian Leigh). Her acting, dresses and eyes alone are worth watching. But for the 1st time I was struck by how karma really messes with her. And – how in the end, kind and compassionate Melanie is the one who “wins.” Even I am shocked by this statement.
Scarlett is the strong one. The one who “lies, cheats, steals and kills” to “never be hungry again.” But after making that famous statement, she goes on to do all of that and more – even when she doesn’t have to. She has a conversation with Ashley, and another with Melanie about character that sum up Scarlett’s walk towards the dark side. She of course doesn’t listen, and is certain she’s doing what she needs to do.
What I realized in this viewing was, she didn’t. And neither do we. We all get so caught up in competition with work, friends and lovers – we often forget to do the right thing regardless of where it will “get us.” And it almost always bites us in the ass somewhere down the road.
In the end, it takes much more strength to ignore perceived slights and assume instead the best in others. Melanie does it to a fault, and as a result – she is loved and respected by everyone who crosses her path. Which in the end gives her tremendous power. And love.
The lesson today for me, was to do just that – to expect the best in everyone. Even when the rest of the town is whispering that your sister-in-law is having an affair with your husband. Or the local Madame wants a sit-down with you in her buggy. When you treat people with the respect and love you want back – that’s ultimately what you get.
It’s true that karma is a boomarang. What you put out there, deserved or not, ALWAYS comes back to you. I for one am determined to put more and more compassion and understanding out there. As God as my witness. No matter what is thrown at me.
Let’s just see what comes back.