Since it came out in 1989, Field of Dreams has been my favorite movie. I used to think it was because it was such a great story about baseball, which I love with an irrational intensity, and it had Kevin Costner in it….(what’s not to like about that!)
However, recently I watched it again and was surprised at the number of insights embedded in it that I had missed before.
“If you build it, he will come”
Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) was called to do something extraordinary which, at first blush, seemed ridiculous. He heard ‘the voice’ and was moved to plow under his entire corn crop on his farm to build a baseball field for players from the early days of baseball to play on. Once the field is ready, the players arrive, even though they are all long dead.
Can you think of a time when you took a courageous step, one that was sparked by an inner voice that you couldn’t ignore, that resulted in a more expansive way of seeing things? Is there a step you want to take, but are struggling to decide how?
“Go the distance”
Ray’s journey to figure out what his full purpose was, took him many miles from home, into territory he had never traveled before. Throughout, he followed his instincts and stayed committed to seeing this endeavor through until the end. He was willing to let things unfold, knowing that he really didn’t have control over what was to come next. He was open to the messages that seemed to appear out of nowhere, and came at just the right moment.
Often we ignore our inner voice, because we fear wading into uncharted territory. Are you clinging to a belief that if you stay where you are, you are in control of your future? Is this way of being serving you?
Doc ‘Moonlight’ Graham
During his travels, Ray meets up with an aging physician – Doc ‘Moonlight’ Graham. Doc Graham was a baseball player in the early 1900s. His career as a baseball player was brief and just as he was about to get to play in his first major league game, circumstances arose that didn’t allow that to happen, resulting in extreme disappointment. His wisdom when reflecting on that time in his life serves as an important reminder to us as we go about our daily lives.
“You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day”
Throughout the story, Ray’s brother-in-law relentlessly pushes Ray to sell his farm, since he can no longer pay the mortgage now that he has plowed under his cash crop. This comes to a head one afternoon when all of the players are on the field practicing and Ray and his wife and daughter (Karin) are watching. Ray’s brother-in-law can’t see any of the players – he is blind to their presence. It isn’t until Karin starts choking and requires Doc Graham to ‘step over the line’ to save her, that his eyes are opened to all that is in front of him. He sees the players! He shifts his perspective – “Don’t sell this farm, Ray! You can’t sell this farm!”.
Often it takes a crisis, or some unexpected event that causes us to see a situation with new eyes. If you were to ask someone who cares about you “What is my blindspot?’, what might they say?
“Ease his pain”
The story closes with Ray meeting his own father again, seeing him as he was when he was in his 20s – a young man whose devotion to and love of baseball is palpable. As father and son casually play catch with one another, they begin to repair the relationship that they had when Ray’s dad was alive. And while initially, Ray believed that he was building the ball field to provide these players with another chance to capture the magic of the sport they loved, he begins to see that the pain he was working to ease, was his own.
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