One of the most memorable books I've read in the last few years is The Road, Cormac McCarthy's incredible testament to hope and love in a world gone completely mad. That someone would want to make that novel into a movie makes good sense; and it's out. I haven't seen it. I would; but for the life of me, I can't begin to believe that the film could best the novel because what we can see in our imaginations is often far more horrifying than what can be shown to us on film.
The protagonist is a father, a survivor, a character known only as “the man.” His son is “the boy.” Once upon a time they had names, but after whatever kind of apocalypse occured, life itself has become so precarious that everything and everyone is reduced to the elemental.
The story's richness comes from its unsparing look at desperate humanity in a world that has literally lost its light, but McCarthy's refuses to submit to despair. The story is this: the man unconditionally loves the boy, and that love, no matter how meager, lights the darkness.
Last night, on CNN, gunshots rang out in the background as a reporter in the horror that is Haiti hesitantly talked through his grim report. Lights had been dimmed, fearing the madness. What's happening in Haiti is not a novel, and certainly no Hollywood production. Haiti, this morning, is real life.
There is no water. There is no health care. Bodies of the dead line the streets. Here and there, people try to dig out massive chunks of concrete with their bare hands because they're sure loved ones are still alive in the rubble of buildings that are no more. The Presidential palace is in ruins. The entire capital city is homeless. What little government was there before the quake is already long gone.
There are horrific villians in Haiti right now, I'm sure; there are no more prisons. But I'm sure there are heroes too, thousands of them, those who give and give and give--like "the man."
Today is a big day for me--travel, new faces, new responsibilities.
But suddenly such things seem paltry, as do Washington's petty political squabbles, NFL playoffs, and even films and novels, The Road notwithstanding. Today, less than a hundred miles from Florida, thousands of people will do everything they can and more, simply to stay alive. The good news is, thousands more will try to help.
Bless the fathers, Lord. Bless the mothers too. And bless the children. And thank you for those who help, those who can and do. Even in the heart of darkness, thank you for light. Thank you for the gift of love.