As I shared last time, there were two movies that we saw over vacation that we liked: "The Finest Hours" and " St. Vincent". In some ways, both were stories of unwittingly heroic people. One was based on a true story and the other was a story. They were inspirational, encouraging and life affirming.
St. Vincent is the story of a "young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door." The movie stars Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts. Great acting (the child actor who stars as the young boy is wonderful) and a feel good movie. Reminds me that unlikely heroes are all around us.
"The Finest Hours" is the true story (as only Hollywood calls "true") of the greatest small boat Coast Guard rescue of all time. Four Coast Guard men in a 36 foot Coast Guard motor boat made the daring and miraculous rescue of 32 merchant mariners during a Nor'easter off the coast of Chatham, MA in 1952. The mariners were stranded on the stern section of the SS Pendleton. The Coast Guard men had to navigate through an extremely difficult section of sea (the Chatham bar- area of lots of shoals, shifting sands and where the waves make traversing perilous) We saw the film in Chatham and listened to a brief discussion and Q&A by the author of the book with the same name.
The thing that I find amazing about the rescue- all four men would say that they were just doing their jobs, nothing heroic or extraordinary. In fact, they never wanted to talk about their story. All four men selflessly chose to risk mortal danger in the attempt to rescue others. By all accounts, they never should've made it.
During the Q & A after the film, the author relayed that one of the seaman after leaving the coast guard got a job as a janitor at an elementary school. As the author said, "How many of those people walking past him each day realized that they were in the presence of a true hero?"
Makes me wonder, how many people do I pass each day who have an extraordinary story? Or, in encountering people like the irascible Bill Murray character in St. Vincent, do I write off and think that they have nothing to contribute? Both movies remind me that I need to listen more to the people with whom I come in contact. Both movies remind me that I need to take time to get to know others and to hear their stories. Both movies remind me that I need to be empathetic to those whom I encounter.
What about you? Have you ever encountered someone who had an extraordinary story? Someone who, unless you took the time to listen, is overlooked? What did you learn? How did that person's story inspire and encourage you?