Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Kite Runner

I don’t know whether you’ve read the book or seen the movie. I just saw the movie not too long ago, and I liked it very much. I haven’t read the book.

I won’t tell you much about the plot. You can read it on Wikipedia, if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book.

The story is about a friendship between two boys in Kabul, Afghanistan. One—Hassan—is devoted to the other—Amir. He would do anything for him. He serves him. He endures pain and suffering for him. And he eventually dies trying to protect Amir’s house from the Taliban.

Both boys grow up. Hassan remains in Afghanistan, while Amir moves with his father to the United States.

Amir returns to Kabul to rescue Hassan’s son, Sohrab, from the Taliban who have made a sex slave of him. He brings Sohrab back to the United States, and he and his wife adopt him.

It’s a powerful story. One of those stories you really can’t get rid of, no matter how you try. Scenes from it keep coming back. What the characters do keeps coming back.

I went through a few weeks of replaying various scenes in my mind, wondering where the power was coming from. Wondering why the movie had become almost an obsession for me.

And then it became clear. It was God. It was God in the love of Hassan for Amir. In his devotion and tenderness and forgiveness. His acceptance of the evil that was done to him. And that Amir does to him. His passive acceptance of this. Because of his love for Amir. His devotion to Amir.

And then it was God in the love of Amir for Hassan, displayed years and years later. Years after he escapes to the United States and then returns to Kabul to rescue Sohrab. To rescue Hassan’s son after Hassan has been murdered by the Taliban, no matter what. He will take Sohrab away from the Taliban, even if it kills Amir. He will act on his love for Hassan finally, even though this could easily kill him.

This story is about love so powerful. So profound. So real. So present. That people will die for it. To be faithful to it. To live this love with integrity. To express this love thoroughly. To take this love as seriously as it has been given.

This is God. This kind of love is God. And living this God-given love out faithfully, this is only possible with God. Through God.

And through courage. Our courage. Without our courage, this God-love is not possible. Without a willingness to perish for the preservation of the object of this love, we become diminished. A shadow of what we might have been.

And so back to performance. Back to the preceding post. What God asks of us is our courage. He asks us to act and in our action place our lives at his feet.

This faithfulness is what he asks of us. The only performance of any importance to him. This courage to love him and to love what he loves. Thoroughly. Completely. With our very lives.

No matter what.


Jesse said...

Yes, I read the book some time back (well, listened to it on audio book, to be more precise), and still haven't been able to shake it. Not that I've tried to, mind you. And for the same reasons you observe, I think. Potent stuff, love. I'll have to check out the movie, too.

Bill Elkington said...

Funny thing is, I went to see the movie in one of those cheap theaters. Second run. And I've never seen a theater there more full. And it was full of, guess what? People over 50. About 80 percent of the audience was over 50. To see a movie about a couple of Afghan kids. Odd. But good!