Recently my wife and I watched the acclaimed french film “Amour.” The acting was stunning, the pace reflective and the themes challenging. The film introduces us to the twilight years of a loving couple, Anne and Georges, at about the time Anne has a stroke. We then see the struggles that this stage of life introduces them to and their attempts to deal with that.
I was amazed how much this film unsettled me. Films don’t normally eat at me so much and I began to ask why?
One reason that this film challenged me is that both my wife and I have lost our mothers in the last 5 or 6 years. It brought back painful memories. Helplessly watching people at the end of their lives is not a pleasant experience. Added to this was that it also brought back memories of difficult pastoral visits that I have made in the past. As a young (and when I reflect back, often clueless) pastor I assisted many people in these final years. Some people going with assurance and peace and others with fear and trepidation.
However, the most confronting aspect of the film was the reminder of my my own mortality. My wife and I maybe relatively healthy now but there is no guarantee as to how long this will last. One of us is going to look into a coffin to say goodbye to the other. So the questions arise, how will I react as the carer or the one being cared for? How gracious and patient and forgiving will I be? My track record hasn’t always been that good.
The saddest aspect of the film was that faith and hope were largely absent. There was love and dedication and certainly a hint of Christ-likeness in their attitude toward each other but there was no future or eternity in view. So as unsettled as the film made me, the biggest reminder for me is to continue to stay focussed on Christ. My life here is a pilgrimage and not the destination.