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Dead Poets Society is, I think, one of the best films of all time. In his first lesson with
his senior class, the rather eccentric but very inspiring English teacher John Keating,
played by Robin Williams, takes the boys into the foyer outside the classroom where
he asks one lad by the name of Pitts (a rather unfortunate name, Keating muses) to
read out a poem. In an uncertain voice, Pitts reads,
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying."
’Carpe deum’, Keating says to them, ’Seize the day’. Every single one of us is just
food for worms. You may be destined for great things, but you need to take the
opportunity now. Then he leads his class up to the cabinet on the side of the foyer,
filed with old, black and white photos of old boys . What do all these boys, your
illustrious predecessors, have in common?, asks Keating. They’re all fertilising
daffodils. They’re all dead. They were boys with high expectations, high ideals, just
like you. They felt they were invincible, thought that the world was their oyster, just
like you. But did they manage to fulfil even a tiny bit of their potential? Keating
gathers his charges close around the cabinet, telling them to listen to the legacy the
old boys have for them. He whispers from behind them, imitating the ghosts of the
past. "Carpe deum. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."
This teacher, while he might have been inspiring, while he might have been
funny, had all his priorities out of order. He thought that success in this life was the
most important thing to pursue. He thought that everything ended when we all
became "food for worms", when we all began a new job as daffodil fertilisers. Yet,
despite his problems, one part of John Keating’s message echoes the thoughts of Paul
in 2 Corinthians 6. Seize the day, says Keating, make your lives extraordinary. Seize
the day, says Paul, be reconciled to God.
Several Years ago there was a movie that starred Nicolas Cage. It was about a New York City Cop who didn’t have enough money for a tip. He felt bad about it so he gave her a choice. She could wait until tomorrow and he would come back and bring her a few dollars or she could have half of anything he might win on a lottery ticket he had purchased earlier in the day. I really identified with this movie because as you know I too am a waiter. What you may not know is that I am also a delivered compulsive gambler. Well the waitress did exactly what I would have done in the same situation. She took a chance. If you haven’t seen the movie or didn’t here about the true story that inspired it let me tell you what happened. They won. The movie goes on to tell of all the good and bad things that happened to them after winning this large amount of money. The title was
It Could Happen to You.
As I thought about that movie I thought about all the possible out comes and what would I have done if that had happened to me.
In the movie "It’s A Wonderful Life", George shares with Mary all his wishes and plans. After throwing a rock at the old house he explains how he knows what he will do today, tomorrow, and the next day. How he’s going to see the world, and go to college, and build things.
You can tell that Mary has other plans. She too throws a rock and wishes for something.
[show clip here: timing 25:40-27:35 starting with “I’ll throw a rock...” through “...why don’t you kiss her?”]
WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH YOUR LIFE
In the recent movie, "About Schmidt" 66-year-old Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has retired from his job as an insurance actuary. He is miserable, and after his wife (June Squibb) suddenly dies, he is also lost. He travels the country in his RV hoping to stop his daughter’s (Hope Davis) marriage and to find purpose to his life. Throughout the movie he writes his personal thoughts to a 6-year-old African child, Ndugu, that he sponsors for $22 a month.
As Warren is traveling back home in his R.V., he begins contemplating the meaninglessness of his life. (He shares he thoughts in letters to his 6 year old foster child).
Voice Over -
"I know we’re all pretty small in the big scheme of things. I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference. But what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me?"
He briefly explains how he failed in trying to stop his daughter from marrying a loser. Then he says, "I’m weak, and I’m a failure. There’s just no getting around it."
He arrives home and picks up a stack of mail. The voice over continues: "Relatively soon I will die. Maybe twenty years. Maybe tomorrow. It doesn’t matter. Once I am dead and everybody who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never existed. What difference has my life made to anyone? None that I can think of. None at all. Hope things are fine with you. Yours truly, Warren Schmidt."
He sees an international envelope and opens it. The voice over changes to the voice of Sister Nadie Guchier (pronounced Goo-chee-ay).
"Dear Mr. Warren Schmidt. My name is Sister Nadie Guchier of the Order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. I work in a small village near the town of Enbaya in Tanzania. One of the children I care for is little Ndugu Emu - the boy you sponsor. Ndugu is a very intelligent boy and very loving. He is an orphan. Recently he needed medical attention for an infection of the eye, but he is better now. He loves to eat melon, and he loves to paint. Ndugu and I wanted you to know he receives all your letters. He hopes you are happy in your life and healthy. He thinks of you everyday, and he wants very much your happiness. Ndugu is only six years old and canno...
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Three In One who makes our lives more beautiful than what they could ever be on their own.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
About ten years ago, a movie came out that just about everyone saw. It was called “Fight Club.” How many of you here were able to see Fight Club when it came out? Almost everyone? In that movie there were many scenes that were hard to watch. Many scenes that pushed the envelope farther than I wanted to be pushed. One scene in particular was hard for me to watch, but there was also something else to it. There was something strangely uplifting.
The scene begins with the narrator, played by Edward Norton, saying “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate of everyone drops to zero.” The next thing you know, you see Tyler, a character played by Brad Pitt dragging a man out of a convenience store into the alleyway, where Edward Norton is waiting.
Tyler, Brad Pitt’s character, has a gun. He pushes this man to his knees and we get our first real glimpses of the man. He’s probably in his mid or late twenties. Brad Pitt takes out the man’s wallet.
Tyler starts to look at the man’s wallet and calls him by name, “Raymond K. Hessel.” He reads off the address on his license. “Raymond,” he says, “you are going to die,” as he looks through his wallet. “Is that your mom and dad Raymond?” He stammers out a yes, between the tears and sobs that have already begun to fall. “Mom and dad are going to have to call up kindly doctor so-and-so to pick up your dental records, you wanna know why? ‘Cause there’s gonna be nothing left of your face.” Raymond continues to whimper in the background.
“What’s this?” says Tyler, “an expired community college student ID? What did you study, Raymond?”
“Stuff,” Raymond replies, “Stuff…”
“Stuff?” says Tyler, “Where the midterms hard? I asked you what you studied Raymond!”
“Biology,…biology mostly,” Raymond manages to get out. “Why?” says Brad Pitt
“I don’t know…” Raymond cries out.
“What did you want to be Raymond?” and he cocks the gun behind Raymond’s head.
“The question Raymond, what did you want to be?”
Ed Norton’s character breaks in, pleading with Raymond, “answer him Raymond.”
“Veterinarian” stammers Raymond, “Veterinarian.”
“That means that you need more schooling Raymond,” Tyler says.
“Too much schooling, too much schooling…” is Raymond’s only reply.
“Would you rather be dead?” says Tyler, “Would you rather die here on your knees in back of a convenience store?”
“No!” shouts Raymond, “No please…”
Tyler puts the gun away. He kneels next to Raymond and speaks into his ear. He says “I’m keeping your license. I’m going to check in on you. I know where you live. If you’re not on your way to becoming a veterinarian in 6 weeks, you will be dead. Now run on home.”
“I feel ill” says Edward Norton’s character who has been watching all of this. “Imagine how he feels,” says Tyler. “What was the point of all of that?” says Edward Norton. Tyler responds, “Tomorrow is going to be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast tomorrow will taste better than any meal that you or I have ever tasted.”
PEACE IS POSSIBLE
Tomorrow the new Star Trek movie is starting, and the original series of the 60’s taught another important universal truth: A white American Captain served with a Russian navigator, a Japanese helmsman, a Vulcan first officer and he even kissed the black chief communications officer. The universal truth here is: Peace is possible!
In the movie, "Dead Poets Society," Neil Perry was a boy from a wealthy family studying in a very exclusive New England prep school. He wanted very much to become an actor when he grew up. But his father wanted him to be a medical doctor. The school produced a play in which Neil had the lead role. His father reluctantly attended. Neil was the star of the play. His performance received a standing ovation at the end. After the play was over the father took his son home and laid the law down: "Son,” he said, “I’m not going to let you waste your life being an actor. I’m going to take you out of this school tomorrow and send you to a military acad...
Just watched a movie called “The Day After Tomorrow” and in that movie you see people evacuated from the US to Mexico because of natural disasters hitting the US. Mexico couldn’t handle the hordes of people fleeing the States crossing the Rio Grande, they closed the borders. Next you see folks abandoning not only the homes they left, but also their cars as they scramble across the river after they heard the border was closed, carrying their bags, most of all herding their families. At the end of the day, it was not about how much stuff they could carry, it is all about getting your loved ones safely across, away from impending disaster and doom. Relationships matter the most!
At the end of the day, it is not about the accumulation of stuff; it is about the m...