Countdown (of a different kind)


A little while back, I watched a movie titled “Calvary”. I remembered really enjoying that movie.

The calmness of the tone on the surface, with obvious tension beneath, really was my thing in a number of ways.

The script was wonderful and the lead, Brendan Gleeson, was magnificent in playing out that cocktail of sad family history and later personal salvation and devotion to the clergy’s calling, all juxtaposed with a personality that is volatile yet kind. Having given up drinking for many years, one senses he is only a drink away from having his faith and integrity crumble around him. He has become a really good man but one senses it could all come crashing down quite easily.

Against all that, the movie started out with a scene in a confession booth, where the confessor tells Gleeson’s character that he was going to kill him. One week from that day.

Following that opening scene, the movie plays to a countdown. The good priest continues to go about righting the wrongs of lives of people in his parish but he told his superiors about that confession. Each character that was a member of his parish which he was dealing with, was a suspect. When I watched it again last weekend, it was my second viewing so I knew (spoiler alert…) that it was the butcher.

When the “appointed” (last) day came and the good priest showed up – courageously, but I wondered if, foolishly – on the beach and the butcher showed up a little while later, one would have still wondered if the priest would be killed or there would be some other form of ending.

The butcher – badly butchered by clergy sexual abuse in his younger days – did not spare the good priest, that priest’s blamelessness notwithstanding. Two shots finished that good man’s life.

That one week showed much of that priest’s life and people around him. He must have known, that those few days were to be his last.

I had not planned to watch that movie last weekend. It simply showed up on the screen as I was flicking away on the pages of the streaming service on the iPad.

Watching it again however, meant all week this week, it played on my mind.

12 years ago this past week, my dad lived his final days. He was to pass away tomorrow, 12 years ago. I wondered what went through his mind those few days.

Unlike the good priest in “Calvary”, my dearest father didn’t know.

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