At the behest of our 12-year-old son, we attended a showing of the Nicolas Cage sci-fi movie, Knowing on Friday night. The thumbnail sketch of the plot is this: an MIT professor who has recently & tragically lost his wife, is convinced that the universe and all it contains is just a random grouping of unrelated and purposeless events: Life has no meaning. What unfolds is a series of scenes that turn his theory on its ear. The movie is a sci-fi thriller with many allusions to the faith and scriptural reference points. If you can get past the numerological details and some of the global warming nuttiness, you will be pleasantly surprised (I think) about some of the conversations that this movie will undoubtedly spark.
My husband and I have laid a faith foundation in our family that we oftenttimes are fooled into thinking, due to the actions of our sons, that it has been a bridge to nowhere. To be frank, we just don't always see the fruits of our labor. I can become easily discouraged knowing that we have been faithful with our investment of time, energy and resources into Catholic education, Mass every week and an insistance in the values that we embrace, and yet my kids just don't get it. They think it's tripe. Sorry, I don't mean to whine, but this is the hair-raising cross that I've had to bear more recently and more often than ever before. To be frank, I have come to a basic acceptance of the fact that I must entrust to God what he has entrusted to me as a parent. That having been said, I get giddy over little things (God shots) that prove to me that there are some fruits to be noticed in the here and now and God has not abandoned me to my vain frustrations. The example was Friday when we emerged from the theater.
"Mom, did you know that those guys were angels sent from God? And that one part reminded me of Noah's Ark and the flood. And they ended up back in the Garden of Eden just like Adam and Eve with the good tree and not that evil tree....yadda yadda yadda. " It came gushing forth! I learned later on that my son had been discussing this movie at his new school with a classmate who happens to be jewish. Again, and I repeat: they are twelve.
In all my years of knowing my son, he never has initiated conversation with me about the faith. Never. Until Friday. It might be a fair assessment that we humans provide the necessary kindling and raw materials with which to make a foundation of a faith. We engage our memory, our will, our liberty and our intellect to process a reality that is both here and in the eternal. But it needs a spark, a seed, the God particle at precisely the "right" moments in order to become what it is to be: in this case, belief. Could I have witnessed the creation of a new cosmos of understanding in my son? I'm probably reading way too much into this. I'll stop now, content to KNOW that God is in charge, and I am not and I get to surrender over and over and over again.
If you have a 12-year old*, you might want to go see Knowing; you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the interesting conversations that spark after the show!
*It's a PG-13 and there are some scenes that contain a lot of destruction and people burning, fyi.