Grassroots Films, 2007 [PG-13]
EXPERIENCE I: HOMELESS ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK
Find those things that make us human.
It’s not the nature of life to be despairing. The nature of life is to be hopeful.
Life is other people. It’s just that simple. If you view the other as a unique component of yourself, it can change things.
The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes. – Viktor Frankl
We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Experience can be a generous teacher, or a cruel teacher,…but whatever experience we have, whether it is good or whether it is bad, we can always learn from it – Alveda King
And when you experience those things, it produces growth.
EXPERIENCE II: THE LOST CHILDREN OF PERU
It’s not what we gave them, it’s what they gave us, because they gave us a reason to live.
This is what the kids have here, the joy of living.
People need to learn to get out of their little box, see the world, see how many other cultures there are out there; open their eyes a little bit.
When you see children, everything you know about life — all the suffering, and all the pain — it kind of reverts to how fresh and how precious innocence can be.
The tears of one child, of one innocent child [are] a cry that is bigger than all the universe together with its matter, and anti-matter, and multi-verse — everything to me is questioned, by the tears of suffering in one innocent child. Why that strong demand for justice? Where is that coming from? So I don’t ask the question, What is the meaning of life or the purpose of life. I ask, Who are you? – Msgr. Lorenzeo Albacete
In developing nations, this is much more clear. I need to survive, I need to get an education, because someone needs me. And that person can be family, or a friend.
When you recognize that you have a real mission, and an indispensable contribution to make, then you embrace life, you celebrate life in a very meaningful way; in a world where many people are very aimless, they don’t know why they are here. So, they do what’s necessary to survive…but there is no underlying passion.
And this is an extraordinary gift and advantage that they have over many young people in the West today who are told the opposite; you don’t matter, there’s a million people waiting to replace you, we can get someone to do your job better for less money… This translates, I think into a cultural question that we’re facing, where many, many young people today are saying, I need to experience, in some sense, that my life matters.
The more mature person is not the person who has all the questions settled. No. The more mature person is the person who enters ever more deeply, ever farther and father and father into the mystery and into the wonder.
And the world is off kilter because people aren’t allowed to live out their purpose, to pursue their purpose.
EXPERIENCE III: LEPERS OF GHANA
In our culture, life is always a treasure. So, there is always meaning to life. There is always something to lean on. I think that is the root at the joy that permeates our life.
Life is bigger than we see. I think human beings intuitively know that. … There is something underlying some sense of the transcendent, and man’s desire and need to be in relationship with that is not to be ignored. I think it’s very significant.
Life is sacred. That is to say it is the supreme value to which all other values are subordinate. – Albert Einstein
THE AIDS EPIDEMIC
Today we’re going to be doing some interviews with people who are dying of AIDS.
Suffering is a journey deeper into the heart of life. You can’t make a superficial description of the meaning of life as though it’s oriented around pleasure or beauty or fun. It’s obviously going to be full of pathos, full of struggle, and indeed for many, full of terrible suffering.
Even in the deepest suffering there is significance, there is a meaningful process of meaningful possibilities.
We have to recover the language of humanity. We can’t understand suffering without it.
There is a struggle in life, in every class of people. It’s part of life. It’s what we do with it that matters.
To be a person with a bold heart…that I can do anything to help any other people.
Facing death, every day. How do you deal with it?
I think the suffering of the earth is only understandable in the context of some cosmic spiritual conflict.
Life without faith would be unbearable.
The Bible is not a theodicy, a rationalization of evil. It’s a religion. The crucifixion is the drama of death and love brought together.
Wherever there is suffering there is always the opportunity for deep compassion.
THE LEPER COLONY
I didn’t even know leper colonies still existed.
It’s kinda almost looked upon like a curse. You’re an outcast, sent to live in this colony, segregated to live from the rest of the population.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium Leprae. Left untreated, leprosy can cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes.
We are happy about the community. We work together, and do everything. … You are not afraid of us. You’re my brother. We are happy.
His mindset is the person, the human person, what is this person really made of? There’s a level of reality that I’ve never experienced before.
No matter what happens. Life is still good. Life is a gift.
— VIA —
Be prepared for a roller coaster ride through a host of emotions and experiences. I feel it necessary to applaud the work of those featured in this film, to give honor where honor is due, as they exemplify the “very best” of humanity. I feel it also necessary to admonish the rest of us for our pathetic and dispassionate routines, our superficial complaints, and myopic existence. I feel compelled to condemn, in the strictest of terms, those who abuse, neglect, and use children as if they were somehow dismissible materials fit for discarding.
But this all begs the question, who is truly suffering? Perhaps the answer is, all of us. And we all need rescue, some from injustice and some from apathy, some from hunger and some from gluttony, some from disease and some from chauvinism, some from tears and some from callousness, some from poverty and some from prosperity.
We all need rescue.
The film is hopeful and dramatically moving. The topics are a bit disjointed and non-linear, but perhaps, that’s the point of this artistic rendition of your life in community with everyone else’s life on the planet. There are fantastic quotes to consider, many of which are written above. And the film ends on a clarion call to understand, value, and commit to the family unit which holds this all together.