In celebration of what would have been Ingmar Bergman’s 100th birthday, my old film professor and I went to watch Wild Strawberries (1957) at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The film itself is about an old man named Isak Borg who is preparing to receive an honorary degree for his years of service as a doctor. But, the night before his trip to receive his degree, he is plagued by nightmares of his life and death. When he wakes up, Isak begins his car journey to his ceremony with his daughter-in-law, and he finds out that others think of him as cold, bitter, and unpleasant. Thus begins his own inner journey in which he reminisces on his life and relationships, and after his eye opening experience he begins to make an effort to be kinder, warming, and more loving to those around him.
Of course, I cannot explain the subtleties and intricacies of Bergman’s Wild Strawberries very easily in less than one hundred-fifty words. But, this film made an impression on me. How do we deal with our regrets? How do we want to be remembered? In the context of my work with ETSS, I think about how I want to remember my experience working with ETSS this summer, and I think about how I want to be remembered by my supervisors, coworkers, and maybe even the kids I find myself spending time with. This past week, I have been working on making my contributions to ETSS’s nutrition program as good as it can possibly be, practicing acts of kindness in the office, and keeping on track with my Youth Summit goals. All in all, I am trying to be more intentional in how I go to work and interact with others.
In the final scene of Wild Strawberries, Isak Borg says something to the effect of, “When I am laying in bed, alone and sleepless, I think back to the memories of my childhood, and they calm me to sleep.” I took that to heart when I acted as a weekly chaperone at one of ETSS’s field trip sites. I took my group of kids through Ohio History Connection and the Ohio Village, and we played make believe all day. While I don’t think this one day will change any child’s life, I do hope that maybe it will be stored in a collection of good memories that they will have from their childhoods. If not, that’s okay, too.