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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Right Place to Be

This evening I watched the film Radio (2003) which “is based on the true story of T. L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) and a mentally-challenged young man James Robert “Radio” Kennedy (Cuba Gooding, Jr.)”  Wikipedia.  In the movie, the question is repeatedly raised as to why the coach despite opposition is going out of his way to help Radio (at first an isolated and socially cautious person).  There is no ready answer other than “It seems the right thing to do.”  After a critical incident in the movie brought on by the death of Radio’s mother, coach Jones relates to his own teenage daughter an incident that happened when Jones was delivering papers as a twelve year old boy.  Jones said that he had never told anyone before about this.  On his route he heard a noise at a house and investigated.  The house had a crawl space under it covered with a wire mesh.  Looking out at him from under the house through the wire was a boy.  The boy had some disability and the family kept him penned up under the house. Jones continued his paper route and passed the house daily.  But he never did anything about the caged boy.  His lack of action weighed on his conscience.  From this revelation it became apparent that Jones never wanted to make that mistake again.  In a sense, his action towards Radio was an attempt at redemption.  Many benevolent acts done throughout the world may in some sense be done for redemption of past deeds or lack thereof.  It is a good thing that people can make good on their promise that “this mistake will never happen again.”  Redemption is a good thing for the doer as well as for the receivers.  We should celebrate this possibility of exercising redemption in very practical ways.  Renewed commitment is the right thing to do, the right place to be. 

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