One of my favorite movies is “Rudy.”
It is about a young man who grows up in South Bend, Indiana, with a lifelong dream of going to Notre Dame. He not only wants to attend, but he also wants to play football for the famed Fighting Irish.
If you have seen the movie, you know that “life” gets in the way of Rudy’s dreams. As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you are living.” It seems life has a way of getting in the way of our dreams sometimes. Everything Rudy does to try to get accepted into Notre Dame fails; admissions, testing. Nothing works for him.
For me, one of the great scenes in the movie takes place when Rudy is at his wits end about what to do. It takes place in the chapel where Rudy goes to think and pray. It’s something we often do when we get at our wits end, right? While Rudy is sitting alone in the church, the Father walks through and sees Rudy. The Father and Rudy have talked often, so he is very familiar with Rudy and his trials. The Father walks over to sit next to Rudy in the pew and they began to engage in conversation. “Why, Father, why? Why are all these things happening to me, and nothing good is happening for me? I’ve done everything I know to do. Can you tell me why?” Rudy asks.
The old gentleman then said something to Rudy that, for me, is one of the most profound statements ever made. The Father starts to speak, and Rudy leans in with great anticipation waiting for the wise old man’s words. “Rudy, in all my years in the ministry there are two things I have come to know and learn.” Rudy now moves even closer, his eyes locked on the Father.
“Rudy, the two things I have learned are, one, there is a God, and two, I am not him.”
Lisa, Bart Simpson's little sister from the TV series The Simpsons said it a bit differently when speaking to Bart. "I don't know who or what God is exactly. All I know is, he's a force more powerful than Mom and Dad put together." I agree with both the Father and Lisa, we are not him and he is more powerful than Mom and Dad put together.
It’s a classic, classic line. It is one I have often thought about, said, and struggled with:
“There is a God, and I am not him.”
September 8, 2009