Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has turned the Big 50:
Yeah. 50. To quote Alec Guinness from the classic The Bridge on the River Kwai:
There are times when suddenly you realize you’re nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men’s careers. I don’t know whether that kind of thinking’s very healthy, but I must admit I’ve had some thoughts on those lines from time to time.
Yep. Time to reflect. And since I’ve been told that everyone has planned a full, rich weekend, I’ll be scarce until Monday. Please feel free to comment. That’s one of the reasons I blog. It helps me see insights from others, even if they inexplicably reject my wisdom.
Thanks for all the visits, and I’ll see everyone at the start of my next half century! TTFN.
Go here to read the comments.
Alec Guinness plays Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, absolutely indomitable in the face of the most savage treatment from his captors. Ultimately he wins his war of nerves with his captor, Colonel Saito, over the issue of whether British officers must work in other than an administrative captivity, but fails to understand that by building the bridge he is collaborating with the enemy. Nicholson is a man of rules and discipline and in many ways he is a heroic figure, willing to die to uphold what he perceives as civilized standards, and is beloved of his men who he also loves. However, he is a tragic hero in that he fails to see that following what he thinks are the rules in this circumstance will benefit the enemy by building them a strategic rail bridge. He rectifies his mistake at the cost of his life. The film is an absolutely riveting character study of both Nicholson and Saito, stunningly portrayed by Sessue Hayakawa, a Japanese immigrant to the United States, who fought with the French Resistance during World War II, helping downed Allied fliers.
The Guinness character is an odd one to engage in the type of thoughts quoted in Griffey’s post. He has obviously made a great deal of difference to his men and is a hero to them. He makes them feel a part of an on-going military unit rather than simply a bunch of prisoners, and that was often key to survival in Japanese captivity. Those who believed that they were part of a larger group often survived, while those who adopted an every man for himself attitude often perished. Of course in the film Nicholson also greatly errs in helping the Japanese build a militarily vital bridge. Making a difference doesn’t simply mean making a positive difference.
I have often thought that each person is the worst judge of his or her life. In time, leave that to others to assess, and in eternity leave that to God, whose assessment is, after all, the only one that really counts. For us, it is simply our duty to do the best we can each day of our life, and to do so in such a manner that if we are called to God today, we have no reason to be ashamed of the role in the great drama of life that we played today.