When I was a little girl, like Gertie, I fell hopelessly in love with E.T.
Although I was a little older than the Drew Barrymore character when I saw the film, I remember being mesmerized by key scenes: Elliot luring E.T. to the house by leaving a trail of Reese’s Pieces, E.T. hiding in the children’s closet as he blends in with all the toys and stuffed animals so that the mother wouldn’t discover him, and most of all, E.T.’s sad voice when saying, “E.T. phone home,” while pointing his finger in the direction of his planet.
I didn’t cognitively understand that E.T. is a love story depicting how an entire family hurting from divorce heals through their relationship with the extra-terrestrial but I did viscerally. More than the cuteness of E.T. and the brilliance of the story concept, I was responding to the heart dimension that was beautifully symbolized anytime E.T.’s heart light shone like a saint’s heart of fire depicted in religious paintings. I felt the burning that is love.
As we enter the season in which the Word became flesh I think about this childhood movie from long ago. E.T. came from another world. He was not human but came to our planet and took on some of dimensions of human experience. He missed his loved ones and felt lonely yet also had a mission to fulfill. When it was done he was able to board the space ship and go back home.
Now of course I’m not saying E.T. is a stand in for the Messiah. But as the countdown to Christmas draws near, I can’t help but think of all the brokenness on our planet and the various ways we are all sitting in the dark. The other day I was thinking that Sunday would have been my mother’s 67th birthday if she hadn’t taken her own life. The reality is I lost my mother long before her suicide and yet there I was, sitting in a hotel bathroom missing my physical home and feeling like a five year old wanting her mommy. Do we ever really grow up? And then I felt her spirit reaching out to me lightly touching my skin like when E.T.s finger used to glow.
Being in a human body is at times delightful but incarnation can also be incredibly painful. C.S. Lewis once stated that, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” I have longed for that other world most my life.
Yet at this time of year I recall that on one night, that other world reached out to this one. And this intersection left an indelible mark. If I just tune in to the other-worldly wave link, I can feel the Light that pierced the dark and take solace in the fact that the darkness couldn’t overcome it.