Love. Time. Death. These three things connect every single human being on Earth.
We long for love,
We wish we had more time,
We fear death.
In life, we come to know the depths of love, the opportunities and limitations of time and the challenge of loss and death through our relationships. When we think that time is endless, love and death may be taken for granted.
In the midst of loss, we often cannot feel love and time seems to stand still. And it is during those times in which we do not see the Collateral Beauty.
Collateral Beauty is recognising the possibilities of meaning and beauty that are all around us even in the midst of death and pain.
Beauty in the face of death. Beauty that will ripple outward from a tragic incident. Beauty that will affect or influence something other than the intended target. Beauty in the Brokenness.
Along with damage comes beauty. We have to pay attention. Sometimes we have to look deep. Sometimes we might have to wait for it. It could appear in the most unexpected ways. Tragedy shapes us, but the beauty that comes from it sustains us, gives us hope and allows us to thrive.
So when you are at the lowest point in your life, remember that there is a small light in the dark. There will be collateral beauty, but it is up to you if you want to see it.
In the film, Howard learns that rather than solving problems with his mind, he has to feel in order to heal. Will Smith said “Howard was trying to solve his problems with his mind”. “He thought he could think his way through this problem, and what he realised is he had to bleed, he had to suffer, he had to mourn, he had to let it go, and when he finally had the opportunity to just release and let it all go, the collateral beauty was the joy that he was seeking in the first place.” He realised that suffering is necessary for growth (think of pruning).
Not only do the characters in Collateral Beauty learn to find the joy and beauty in their own pain, they also learn how to connect with the pain and suffering of others. “There’s a wonderful Kahlil Gibran quote that I love,” Smith said at the press conference. “He said: our pain is the knife that hollows us out so that we may hold more joy, and I thought that that was a really interesting idea, that you suffer that pain and you are torn open for the purpose of being able to hold more life and joy and positivity, and I think that is the collateral beauty of the type of suffering that Howard experiences.”