But last Sunday, CBS Sunday Morning News did a story that reminded me of one of these unauthorized stories. CBS did a lovely segment on a Polish priest named Piotr Nawrot who went into the jungles of Bolivia to find lost Baroque music. If that description piques your interest, you can follow the link here to watch the whole story.
Every mother hopes to raise her children with a minimum of psychological trauma to their young minds. I certainly did. But something I did when they were in their early teens, or maybe younger, apparently seared them--at least they tell it that way. My children are now past their childhoods, my son in his 30s and my daughter in her 20s, and I believe they emerged from their childhoods unscathed--mostly.
You see, I love, make that LOVE, the movie "The Mission." This movie, starring a whole host of top notch actors including Jeremy Irons and Robert de Niro, tells the story Jesuits missionaries in South America. Intent on spreading Christianity, and also part of the Spanish colonial outreach, the Jesuits went into the heart of South America, straddling what are today parts of the countries of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, and set up 30 missions. The story of these missions is in itself fascinating, but to follow it I would wander away from the intent of this blog. You can follow the link to learn more.
I loved the movie so much that I thought it was a "must see" for my children. Since it came out in 1986, I likely had my son watch with me either the first or second time I saw it. He was in his teens then, so that timing fits. I was so ecstatic about the movie, I probably paid little attention to his reaction. I don't recall that he expressed any opinion about the movie, during or after watching it.
Since I had the movie on VHS, I could watch it again and again. When my daughter was somewhere in her teens, I said--you HAVE to see this movie "The Mission." And proceeded to persuade her to sit down with me one night to watch it. Later, she was talking with her brother. Now, I don't know exactly how that conversation went, so I won't recreate it. But apparently at some point, perhaps she said something to him about the movie. And her brother laughed and said--oh, did Mom make you watch the movie, too. A knowing shared moment between my children--the trauma that their mother put them through. Haarruummmpppphhhhh. I do not inflict trauma on my children--I introduce them to. . . culture.
Oh well, so they don't share my love for this marvelous movie. I will hasten to point out, the movie is not for the faint of heart, or stomach. The final scene is absolutely wrenching. In history, the Jesuits over-stepped their bounds. They were frequently doing that, and to slap down their influence, the Pope agreed that some of the territory where the missions were located had to be handed over from Spanish colonial control to Portuguese colonial control. The process was not pretty.
Now, what is the unauthorized part of this post? Well, telling this story of course. But, I contend that these are not just stories about my children. They are my stories too, even when the punchline is on me. So, how can they possibly be unauthorized?