Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

As Big As The Sky, Old Sport May 18, 2013

It has come to my attention that Hollywood has pieced together a new and modernized take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s charismatic American novel “The Great Gatsby.” It only just came out in theaters last week and my mom has seen it twice, so it must be decent. I’m out of luck, at least until they either allow dogs like me to the movies or it comes out on DVD and I can watch it in the comfort of my favorite spot on the couch.

Big as the sky, old sportIn the meantime, my thoughts turn to the words that make up the original story penned by Fitzgerald all those years ago. I won’t spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the book or seen one of the many film adaptations, but I will share what is most meaningful to me.

The story is romantic to the core, featuring the undying love of Mr. Jay Gatsby as shared with readers through the eyes of Nick Carraway. To me, the vision of this man is one of the most powerful written demonstrations of real hope. Determination. Vision.

Gatsby was not afraid to dream as big as the sky. Failure was never an option through his imaginative perspective. Instead, he kept his eyes on the prize, the green light that marked his destination. The green light of hope.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us,” Fitzgerald writes. “It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

At some point in our lives, we are all born into our past. We are afforded that rare second chance to do things better. To dream bigger. To effect change. Above all, I see our journey toward the green light as one that seeks progress over perfection.

“How much of our lives is frittered away-spoiled, spent or sullied- by our neurotic insistence on perfection?” Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance. “Today accept that perfection is unattainable.”

Instead we find hope in second chances. Instead we believe in the green light and are borne ceaselessly into the past. Instead, old sport, we dream as big as the sky.