I’M NOT AFRAID
Have you been held hostage your entire life by those who offered you their fears instead of their stewardship?
It was late and my real purpose in going to the independent film was to be with my son. We already had dinner and we were talking passionately about life and our individual and family dedication to express our messages of awakening. There is a certain thrill in being with a beautifully like-minded adult who is also your son. This isn’t new. Both our kids have been “old souls” expressing encouragement and spiritual wisdom beyond their physical years since their inception. But I was almost asleep —again.
I was already tired when the movie finally began and I had hoped that I would remain attentive enough to share the experience with my son. When the opening credits were in Italian I knew I was going to have trouble reading the subtitles but then again maybe it would help me stay awake. The story slowly shared the insights of one particular boy named Michele and his impoverished rural family. Dad had just come home to the delight portrayed in the eyes of the young boy and his sister. Like many families, this adult lead in examples of pushing, taunting, and screaming at the innocence of 10 year old boy to become more like a man.
The Movie’s Message
The eternal message being cycled again that life is hard and the importance of conveying these feelings of fear to the next generation was perfectly captured. The slow paced movie then shows Michele accidentally discovering what initially appears to be a body in a underground cavern. Through time Michele finds that the body is actually a boy named Filippo who is being held captive under extremely in-human physical conditions. Filippo is being held in the dark recesses of earth without any fundamental care including food and water. His eyes are shut from months of captivity and the sores of infection all around his body are clear indicators of his captor’s lack of compassion and care. The blood stained ankle chain makes it physical and symbolic gesture of imprisonment with a metal leash permitting the boy maybe 10 feet of painful personal freedom.
Then in a sudden discovery we find that the Michele’s father is actually one of the abductors that hold Filippo as a hostage in hopes of ransom. Michele is then also threatened by his interrogating father who demands silence and forbids contact with the prisoner —a ten year old boy of his son’s own age.
Michele having visited Filippo many times sharing life sustaining food and water continues to worry about his new friend and dares to go the dark abyss of the hostage. To his ultimate fear Filippo has been moved and there are no remains except some few remnants and smell of the chamber. Michele determines to secretly find Filippo as the gang of terrorists, of which his father is a clumsy member, continues to feud about killing Filippo. Through the door crack Michele hears the new location of Filippo and escapes from his bedroom in the middle of the night to find and free his friend. Through pitch-black darkness Michele finds Filippo bound and gagged in further despair.
Through absolute will-power Michele insists that the collapsed body of Filippo be carried and lifted over another great barrier —a 12 foot wooden gate— that once again held Filippo captive. Michele now stuck on the wrong side of the gate has now freed his friend and instructs him to run as his captives draw straws in his own home to determine who would kill Filippo. Some few moments later the gate begins to rattle as Michele hides from a man surrounded in darkness. In a glimpse of light from the captors flashlight Michele recognizes his father holding the gun and steps from his hiding place with open arms yelling “Papa.” In a flash there is a bright light and Michele is no longer conscious. Later through the blurred vision of Michele we see Michele’s father worried and screaming at his son to stay alive.
As police helicopters appear whirling in the night sky in hopes of finding young Filippo. Filippo then comes from his hiding place just outside the gates of his captivity and holds out an outstretched hand to Michele. The picture of Michele reaching past his father’s embrace to Filippo was the visionary art piece of the entire film. And in that moment Filippo whispers in his weakened voice “I’m not scared.”
My son and I walked out of the theater surprised that the independent film was such slow beginnings concluded this way. Neither of us expected the drama. We talked ever so briefly in the car driving home as I asked aloud “I wonder what the primary message of the film was?” Neither of us responded as all I could think of was getting home and finally getting some sleep.
Questions and Answers
This morning as I began to awake I heard the ever familiar voice of God and Spirit in my head. There was no salutation today it was just the voice of God saying “The boy is you. You have been held hostage your entire life. Those who would offer you stewardship instead offered you their fears.”
Who is the boy, Filippo in the movie, who was actually held hostage? I asked.
“It is another that you have come to help”
I don’t quite understand.
“Yes, you do but you don’t want to see it. Don’t you see that the boy held hostage appears to be in desperate need of your assistance?”
Yes, and I too would immediately respond.
“Yes, and so you have. Will you still be afraid?”
You’re asking me if I’m still scared?
I have been but it isn’t my choice to stay stuck in that illusion. I feel like I want to cry but I don’t know why.
“It is because your compassion for others is great. It is your greatest gift. Give it. Give it all but put away the fear that you will hurt or that you need to be scared.”
What does this have to do with my Son?
“Everything! Don’t you see that the fears that were once yours you too have passed on to him?”
Yes, in spite of my awareness it is frustrating to know that this too has been my past or even my current participation. I must remain accountable but I choose to help him be free of the captivity.
“Yes, will you not be free?”
Yes, you know this is my choice. It is why I have come here.
“Then why are you not free?”
Because at times I have been so preoccupied in assisting others instead of also allowing myself to be free.
“Yes, this is the current moment. Will you be free to express that which is yours and theirs concurrently?”
Yes, you are again referencing the encouragement to give and receive without my interference to receive.
“Yes, like the boys in the movie. You have come to help one another. Your son to you. You to your son. You to the world. The world to you. It is time not to be scared any more.”
I understand you are telling me to release my fears that I might stand in absolute strength of who I am.
“Yes, who are you?”