Did the chapter validate anything about you? Did it give you a kind of permission? In what way?
It gave me permission to be who God created me to be. It gave me permission to go after my heart rather than simply push the wounds of my life aside and just going on wounded. It also helped me to see both ruggedness and beauty all around me. I have noticed that everything rugged is covered, in some way, with beauty. When I look out from a high cliff I see that the landscape is rugged, wild, massive but also very beautiful. When I look at a snow flake a see that it is sharp, rugged, dangerous but also very beautiful. I think God planned it that way othewise ruggedness, wildness, etc would be grotesque.
The chapter also reminded me that some of my fondest memories are those of adventure and being outdoors. I remember spending almost two summers in the river close to our town. I would put on shorts, old tennis shoes, and a hat and head to the river. I would walk/wade/swim for miles, fishing pole in hand catching fish and talking with tourists canoeing the river. Those were great times.
I hope you did watch one of your favorite films, and if youdid, what did it stir in you this time around?
This time I watched The Mission. It stirred up in me many different ideas and feelings. I was inspired but the missionary zeal of the priests even in the face of death. The opening scene shows a priest being martyred by being tied to a cross and left to float over a giant waterfall. I think that there is something in every Catholic man worth his salt that desires martyrdom. I was stirred by the inner strength of the missionaries as well as the character played by Robert DeNiro. His determination to make amends for the sin he committed is incredible. I also admire the fact that almost none of the other men try to pat him on the back and tell him not to worry about making reparation. They allow him to do this even if it means slowing their progress.
We need this sort of support in the Church today. We need to support each other in our valiant (although to the world crazy) zeal for faith, sorrow for sin, love for life. We don't need any more of this patting on the back and saying, "what you did wasn't really a sin. Here, have a beer and we'll just talk about it." No, what we need is accountability. We need a band of brothers who will say, "What you did was sinfull. Go to Confession and when you are done, let's think of a way to make reparation."
...I believe that the movies you loveare a clue to your heart, to what makes you come alive. So let's start there. Write down a handful of movies that have stirred your heart over the years.
And from those stories what roles, what heroes would you love to play? Who would you love to be in those movies?
Jerimiah Johnson as he conquers himself and the wilderness. The father in Life is Beautiful as he so creatively protects his son even offering his own life. Oskar Shindler as he risks his life to save others. Jeremy Irons' character in The Mission who is relentless in bringing about conversion to both the natives and the Spanish. Patrick Swayze's character as he leads a group of highschool students in a resistence militia against the invading Russian Army. Benjamin Martin in the Patriot as he rises to the occasion to lead others in defense of their land and country.
Another way tof getting below the surface, to real desires of our hearts, is to look at what we do with our free time. Set a man completely free, and simply watch what he does. Youll learn a lot. Let's say you have three months of vacation coming up, a sabbatical all to yourself, and plenty of cash to bankroll it. Where would you go? What would you do? What's your dream trip?
What I am about to write may seem extreme for some but it is a dream trip. Of course, since this is a dream, it could only take place if I were single. Not that I want to be but it wouldn't be fair to my wife to take this sort of trip. Perhaps a scaled down version would be possible when the kids get a bit older. Anyway, my brother told me of these firetowers out West where folks sometimes go. The deal is that you stay in these towers, months at a time, and watch for fires. The forest service packs in your food, etc on mules. You radio in an emergency or if there is a fire. I would love to spend three months in one of these towers writing, praying, and reading. That's my "dream trip", three months of solitude for prayer, study, and writing.
Looking back now at the movies you love, the roles you'd want to play, and your three month daydream, what does it tell you about your own heart? What are you made for?
In all of the roles that I chose and in my dream trip I see that both they and it are extraordinary and somewhat extreme. All of it involves some risk to my life. I see that I am made for adventure. I am made to go to the extreme either in nature as Jerimiah Johnson (or in the fire towers) or in human relations like Guido or Oskar Shindler in Life is Beautiful and Shindler's List.