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,
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?