Back in 1992, Vanessa Williams, a woman best know to me for average acting performances, released an even more average single called Save The Best For Last. I first heard the song when I saw the promotional video on television and I was drawn in by the lyrics.
Do we all crave redemption?
The sentiment in these lyrics is reflected in the chorus:
Sometimes the snow comes down in June
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This is a song about redemption, a man who, after making many mistakes, had found redemption just when Vanessa thought their "chance had passed''.
This notion of redemption has a great deal of appeal to me. Indeed, I often think it is what motivates me most.
Redemption is also the subject of many a movie.
There are few movies I have seen more than once, but one I've seen at least five times is Legends Of The Fall. It truly speaks to me. When reflecting on this recently, I decided watch the final scene yet again.
There it was. Legends Of The Fall is about many things, but none more than redemption, the reclaiming of a father's favour and admiration by an eldest son who had lost his way pursuing big dreams that conflicted on so many levels with the lessons of his childhood.
In the final scene, Alfred (played by Aidan Quinn) broke with past behaviour to take a stand in defence of his family. His father (played by Anthony Hopkins), who had not spoken a civil word to Alfred for a number of years, had instead focused all of his love, or at least demonstrable love, on younger son Tristan (played by Brad Pitt). All the way through the movie, the family and the viewer alike loved Tristan, the open-hearted adventurer, and had a distain for Alfred, the would-be politician and business man.
This all changed in an instant. Alfred completed just one simple act that delivered to him not just the demonstrable affection of his father and the support of the viewer, but redemption - the thing he most longed for. I found myself getting emotional watching this scene, so much so that I watched it again.
I liked very much that Alfred found redemption. I liked very much that Vanessa’s lover found redemption.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I never had to struggle for my father’s respect, demonstrable love or favour.
Quite to the contrary. While I feel a sense of gratitude for all the good things he has done for me and regret for the negative consequences that having me as a son brought him, there is no need or desire for redemption there.
Equally, while I regret my behaviour toward a number of girlfriends - particularly one or two that I could and should have treated better - I need nothing from them now and have never thought it necessary to redeem myself in their eyes. I never have thoughts of doing something now in the hope of making up for what happened then.
I think the appeal of redemption is much bigger than that.
I wonder if we are not all seeking some form of redemption.
I wonder if we are all hoping that in our lives that the last thing we deliver is the best thing we deliver.
It is certainly true that I am seeking, or at least am attracted to, achieving redemption. I am just not sure where I am seeking it from. Since I do not believe in God, I'm vertainly not seeking it from a higher power.
Am I alone? Do you feel some deep seeded need for redemption?
You know, every time I write one of these articles, I feel myself growing as a writer and a person. Perhaps I will find redemption at a keyboard.
You, dear reader, may too!!