The Ultimate Arrival

Spoiler Alert: This post contains a major spoiler of a current movie with a similar name.


If you’d known the future, would you change anything?

In the movie Arrival, what’s most moving for me is at the end, when we realize, ah-ha! Dr. Louise Banks has seen it beforehand—knowing full well that years later, her husband Ian will leave her, and her dear daughter Hannah will die of illness at a young age—she still chooses to embark on this journey of love and motherhood, a small idea to illustrate a bit of the Ultimate Arrival.

In the words of the story writer Ted Chiang:

“From the beginning I knew my destination, and I chose my route accordingly.”


And here’s another life…

If you’d known that you’d be born in a smelly horse stable, had to flee from a death threat on your life while still an infant, and later, you’d be misunderstood, criticized, rejected, plotted against, deserted and denied by your intimate friends, betrayed, beaten, spat upon, taunted, and finally hung on the cross with just three nails holding you up until death of asphyxiation, and that’s after living a short life of only 33 years, would you rather not be born?

Yet, He chose to arrive.


The Risk of Birth, Christmas, 1973

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

— Madeleine L’Engle


Other Related Posts:

Arrival: From Short Story to Film (a spoiler-free review)

Poetry by Madeleine L’Engle

Reading the Season: Arti’s Annual Christmas Reads 

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

14 thoughts on “The Ultimate Arrival”

  1. I had forgotten this poem. You’ve contextualized it beautifully, and doesn’t the message give comfort? Love is being born among us every day, if only we can see it.
    Merry Christmas, Arti ~ may blessings abound in the New Year.


  2. I have not heard about this movie “Arrival” but because my husband is now in the “middle” stages of Alzheimer we do not go to the movies – he would not understand them anymore.
    You show an interesting question about this woman. But now I wonder – she knew in advance what life would bring. I also wonder, if I had known in advance about life in the USA I might have preferred to stay in Paris. And I further wonder, then could I have visualized in advance what that life in France would have been like? Of course that is not possible, it would be too easy…
    I hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy New Year. All my best wishes for a great 2017.


    1. Vagabonde,

      Thanks for stopping by the Pond. The movie Arrival is a sci-fi genre film but very distinctly different, I feel. It’s a current release and highly acclaimed, must be in your cineplex now. Anyway, every year around this time, I like to dwell on that first Arrival: that First Christmas, with all its significance and meaning, especially needed now. 😉


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