I love good movies. I mean ones laden with sound morals.
One of such movies is the historical drama film called Bridge of Spies directed by the indefatigable Steven Spielberg. No doubt it’s not your regular blockbuster – fast and furious type, it’s laden with pretty instructive sentiments.
Since the idea behind this article is not to do a review of the movie, I won’t bore you with an elaborate account of it. (You can visit Bridge of Spies to see the full movie). Actually, my reference to the movie is concerning the role designation of one it’s major characters – Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance).
I won’t assume you’ve seen the movie so I’ll just do a two-dollar character analysis of Abel. Abel is depicted as a stoic individual with an enigmatic yet intriguing personality. He is arrested by the US Secret Service for allegedly spying for the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. He is later convicted of the charge and sentenced to 30 years in prison. His lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) however does his best possible to ensure the sentence is reversed for a possible future prisoner exchange.
Now, this is what I find intriguing about the character of Abel: Throughout the period of litigation over his case, he never for a minute showed any sign of concern or apprehension about his predicament. I mean there was not a single moment when he is caught bathing in the pool of self-pity.
Here is a person who was arrested for alleged espionage; locked up in a maximum prison; put on trial and later sentenced to 3 decades in prison. One would have thought he was going to ‘rightfully’ give in to a state of dejection, misery and worry. It won’t be out of place if he languished. But no, Abel was almost unnervingly calm in the middle of the raging storm.
In fact, at some point in the narrative, it was as though his lawyer (Tom Hanks) was the one on trial. Rather than the convicted doing the worrying, his attorney helped shoulder that burden.
In one of their private interactions in Abel’s cell, Donovan observes the unusual calmness with which his client received a particularly bad news. With a baffled expression on his face, he asks him Do you ever worry? The unruffled Abel responds Would it help?. In another scene, Donovan breaks another frightful news to Abel. On a good day, Abel should show concern about what he just heard. However, when he failed to do so, Donovan takes another interesting look at him and commented You don’t seem alarmed. In his usual relaxed style, Abel responds with the same statement Would it help?
The convict’s perpetual expression
How did it end for Abel?
Surprisingly enough, it ended well for him. After a series of back and forths between the US and the Soviets, a prisoner exchange was made. Abel was repatriated to Russia and was reunited with his wife and daughter.
Moral of the story?
Worrying won’t solve a thing.
If worries were remedies to life problems, I’ll simply create a space in my room where I’ll call “wallow-central” and spend the better part of life there. I’ll do nothing but worry away till my troubles are gone. But last time I checked, worrying never takes care of troubles. It only aggravates it and takes away one’s peace and sanity.
Every now and then, we are faced with life challenges that seem to try our faith and test our mettle. Sometimes, in our lives, things doesn’t seem to go in our direction, help doesn’t appear to come from where we hoped, our desires don’t get to be realised as at when due… In all of these contrary circumstances, we always have a choice to make: worry or take action. While it’s natural and normal to feel uneasy at the instance of a negative situation, it becomes counteractive to major in anxiety.
Just like Abel would often ask in response: would it help to worry or panic?
Think about it: Have you ever gotten anything (positive) done while you were busy at being apprehensive or anxious? Of course, there is a difference between (constructive/positive) thinking and worrying. While the former makes you ponder over things and helps you find solution to problems, the latter only makes you feel mentally agitated and distressed.
Each time we throw ourselves a pity-party whenever life happens, we shoot ourselves in the leg. The truth is if a problem can be solved, there is no use worrying about it. Alternatively, why worry about circumstances beyond your control?
What’s the WAY FORWARD…
~Take practical steps/actions: Finding solutions to some issues shouldn’t be rocket science. Overcoming some challenges simply require that a fellow turns inward, talk to the right set of people, ask questions, change/adjust his manner of doing things, do away with certain unhelpful habits, activities or associations… Otherwise, worrying becomes an alternative or a lazy excuse for lack of proactivity.
~God Still Cares: Not everything mountain can be surmounted by sheer strength. Some things are just beyond your control and need divine intervention. Good thing is God is always there to help whenever you call on Him. However, there is not enough room in your mind for both worry and faith. You must therefore decide which one gets to live there – Anonymous.
I’LL LEAVE YOU WITH THESE
1Pe 5:7 Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.
Php 4:6 Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.
Php 4:7 Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.
Worrying is boring. Try living!