My sister (who knows me better than anyone) told me that I HAVE to see a movie called Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. It’s a take of a PlayStation game. I’m not into gaming or animation much, but my sister was insistent that I watch this one. And, wow. I've observed the movie several times to completely absorb the action, political tension, brilliant CGI animation, and epic music combined. What consumed me, however (my sister is always right), was the spiritual symbolism along with the theme of forgiveness. It centered on a character named Cloud.
Cloud, a former member of an elite combat force, an ex-soldier, walked away from the life of a hero to live in solitude. He is unable to forgive himself for the bloodshed in which his hands had partaken. Although plagued by painful recollections, powerful allies, such as Vincent Valentine (he's my favorite. Again, sister guessed it) who has also dealt with remorse, manage to draw Cloud back into battle to help protect and to fight, to make right what had gone wrong for all of them.
Yet, as Cloud ever struggles with the demons of his past, he asks, “Are sins ever forgiven?”
I adore this film.
Dorian Gray, led by his vanity into insatiable lust for pleasure, much later recognizes how depraved he had become. Pleasure did not his happiness make, so he goes to a priest and begs for help in a 2009 movie remake of the classic. The priest, unfamiliar with the depth of this man’s sin, in turn, gives him a trained response. In Dorian’s profound misery the priest’s pat answer wasn’t enough, because his soul was rotten to the core. He’d done despicable things. Help. Me. Gray beseeched. The priest glanced away, lacking the words to bring solace to a devastated individual desperate for a chance at good.
“Speak, man! Do something,” I retorted to the out-of-touch priest. I implored that if I have ear to a broken soul bleeding sorrows, those words already burning in my heart would trickle from my tongue and propel a dark character to light.
Not for the sensitive viewer, this particular film is full of unsavory, hard to
swallow scenes. But I must say that the pivotal point of Dorian Gray would not have been as powerful had I not witnessed them. It fed my compassion for the desperate seeker.
Life can get complicated and sometimes difficult to press through.
We are oft times wounded in the process. But there is freedom on the horizon. Love propels us to that which is an ocean’s worth.
“You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness . . . beautiful, meaningful, and essential, really, to get along in life, to thrive. But whoever said it was easy? Is there ever a time when we can glance over that ragged boundary we just crossed and say, “Easy peasy....”
At least the new and improved frontier is worth the expedition.
It’s interesting how when a person is drawn to and inspired by a particular moral topic that topic seems to become a central theme for his/her life, a challenge—at whatever level, critical or mundane—that stretches that individual far left and then far right to beyond comfort. A mundane example would be when someone says something stupid or does something stupid deliberately aimed at you...repeatedly. This, like any wrongdoing, calls for the Biblical principle of seventy times seven. You really should forgive them...repeatedly, when all you want to do is smack them upside the head. God forgive me.