Skip to main content

The Time Traveler's Wife: Destiny

I wanted to explore some of the themes in The Time Traveller's Wife. Henry and Clare live in a universe that we're told is already written. Henry is a participator who observes but is unable to change things. He does change things by being there - coming out of the woods to get to know Clare - but is unable to re-write things and save his mother from death when he is six years old. We get the idea that people play a passive role in life, or at least one that is unaware of what is going on as events happen.

The circumstances around the beginning of Henry and Clare's sexual relationship and pregnancies suggest they are more able to know what is going on, as they effectively deceive the other. At the heart of the film we see Clare illustrate a doctrine of free will when she declines Henry's proposal, to see what it would feel like to exercise her freedom, before saying yes because her whole life has been about marrying Henry, why would she want anything else? Much like a Christian, no longer a slave to sin but a slave to Christ - free not to sin, free to live for Christ - why would a Christian want anything else...

Throughout death looms as the destiny of characters. We're shown a little of what it means for Henry to live knowing he will die. The reality is that we all live knowing we'll die, we just assume it wont happen to us. Henry has the advantage or curse of knowing when and to some extent how he will die in advance. This isn't the only thing he knows - and the same is true for Clare who knows of Henry before meeting him. His time travelling has given him many benefits - such as a whole lifetime of knowing a woman he only meets for the first time in his twenties, and the ability to cheat some circumstances, but it carries a curse like unexpectedly being away for two weeks over Christmas and turning up naked in the middle of winter. Does his destiny balance out for or against him?

We're asked whether we are victim or beneficiaries of our circumstances? Are we passively pushed around by our genetics and our circumstances, drawn again and again to certain people and places, or is life lived actively and deliberately? However involved or uninvolved the passage of time itself in The Time Traveller's Wife is unstoppable, Henry can take detours backwards and forwards but the clock keeps ticking, running from his mother's wintertime death, through the seasons back to his final winter night - with a sunnier postscript.


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…