Tag: ‘The Verdict’

WHAT NOW?

Now what? asks grieving husband at the crossroads

A WAY OUT OR A DEAD END?

I have reached the What do I do now? stage in my life.

Well, not me exactly, but a guy named Billy Boy, a creation of Renata de Dios, whose name, curiously enough, translates as Born again of God.

Billy Boy—I’ll just call him Bill—watches a lot of movies on TV. The other night he re-watched The Candidate with Robert Redford.

Bill is not comparing himself to Robert Redford of course, but that question he asks at the end of the movie — What do we do now? — is, in a different context, Bill’s question, and that empty hotel room in the last shot is the equivalent of his once-upon-a-time living room, now known as the dead room, and it is the equivalent of his wife’s empty armchair,

Empty chairs

and it is the equivalent of his empty house, and to stretch it to a melodramatic point, the equivalent of his life now, without his wife, who for thirty-four years was his life.

Renata de Dios tells Billy he’s at a Crossroads, and to take the road that leads to God, but his irreligious mind doesn’t even know where to start looking, and so he continues to drink and tells her in a late-night phone call, What has been lost is now found, but now found is lost.

To which Renata replies, Plato-like, I’m not sure I understand your meaning, Socrates.

There’s nothing to understand, of course, because the utterance is sheer 80-proof nonsense.

Last night Bill re-watched the movie The Verdict, and was particularly interested when Paul Newman gave his wonderful summation and spoke these words,

In my religion we say, act as if you have faith and faith will be given to you.

Okay, Bill will buy a ticket to that, but how exactly do you act as if you have faith? — pray, read C.S. Lewis and other spiritual literature, go to church, keep an open mind? He’s been doing all those things — and yet still nothing. He’s willing to try anything — suspension of belief, drugs, insanity, enlist the aid of the Silver Surfer — anything that will bring him closer to his wife.

So, the question remains, now what?

Faith is damn hard

THE ROAD TO THE NARROW GATE

Now I know why ‘Keep the faith’ is such a popular expression — it needs to be said often and always. Because it’s damn hard to keep the faith.
I’m not just talking about faith in God, or any other scientifically Unknown Being, I’m talking about faith in your own will and determination to keep the faith — faith in hope and prayer, and, let’s face it, faith in suspension of disbelief.

If you’ve been raised Catholic, as my wife was — and I was not — you’ve already got one, more like two feet on the road to the ’Narrow Gate’ [Matthew 7:13–Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.]

The Narrow Gate to where?—Heaven, some sort of Life After Death, Something after death? The thinking varies on this and is seldom clear, certainly not clearly known, pure speculation, hope and faith.

Ah-hah, back to faith we come.
Ever since the death of my wife ten months ago, I walk through the empty rooms of this house talking to her, chatting away about our life together, asking her questions about where, if anywhere, she is, and so forth.

And believe it or not, she replies, but in my voice, which surprises me. So I ask her, Why are you talking in my voice? And she says, again in my voice, Because I am in your head and your voice comes from your head, or specifically your brain, and that’s why my voice sounds like your voice.

But what are you saying? I ask. Are we, you and I, not having these conversations?
No, I’m sorry to say, she in my voice replies, because this is only in your desperate, lonely, hopeless mind.

But, I reply, not to be vanquished, I’m trying to have faith. You often told me that in your religion, if you act like you have faith, faith will be given to you.
To this she says: It’s got to be genuine, honey, from your heart and soul, not just from your mind.

Then she tells me, or my damn voice tells me, You know that movie we liked so much, ‘The Verdict’ where Paul Newman in his summation talks about faith? Well, watch it again.

Man, I thought that was kind of rough, but I watched the movie. The part that my wife referred to comes at 1:17 in the clip.

I don’t know, man, a moving speech, but I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me if I ever want to see my wife again. And you bet your life, or my life, I sure as hell do. The alternative is nothing but emptiness.