> (My weekly email to helping professionals, sent directly to the Rural West crisis team at Youth Villages)
Weekly Dispatch, 1/12/11
Angels and Demons
I read Dan Brown’s book, “The Da Vinci Code,” before watching the movie. I liked the book better, so I didn’t run get his other book, “Angels and Demons,” I just watched the movie!
Behind the religious/mythological context of the story and the conspiratorial thriller plot line, “Angels and Demons” is a demonstration of the best and the worst that one of the characters has to offer.
Ewan McGregor’s character, the Pope’s assistant, who in the movie must serve in the Pope’s stead after his death while a successor is chosen, risks his life to save Rome and thousands of people who are gathered to observe the historic choosing of the papal successor, from a deadly weapon of mass destruction. Having been a combat helicopter pilot before becoming a priest and the Pope’s right-hand man, he takes the weapon high above the city in a chopper in an apparent suicide mission to save the city. At the last possible moment, he ejects himself and parachutes back down to the city below, into the arms and hearts of the admiring people whom he nearly died to save.
The priest’s self-sacrifice lifts him, previously a mere lackey, to becoming the fore-runner for the highest position in the Church. But as too often happens in real life experience, intentions turn out to be less than noble, self-serving, and undeserving of admiration.
Aside from being religious symbols, angels and demons may accurately refer to the two sides of human nature, as it does for the antagonist of the novel/movie. Relationships, environments, conditions, attitudes, physical wellness/disease; any of these factors and more may conspire or cooperate to bring out the best or the worst in a person. The frustration many times is that, when I would do well, I don’t, and when the opportunity to do less than well is present, I do it so readily. Maybe you feel the same.
Let’s believe in the best of people, no matter how personally close or distant, and appeal to the best in everyone around us.