Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 258 Bogie Sticks His Neck Out

Dear friends,

The steamy weather always puts me in the mood for the movie Key Largo, starring the inimitable Humphrey Bogart and the enchanting Lauren Bacall. (That tall lanky beauty makes me want to get on a rack and stretch this 5 foot nearly nothing stature to look like hers. Alas, nature makes tall, graceful beauties…and hobbit like folk. But I digress…) This 1940’s film noir takes place in the Florida Keys, when some bad guys take over a hotel where Bogie is visiting, and their plans are curtailed by a major hurricane. At one point Frank McCloud (Bogart) makes the following statement in a pressure situation: “I stick my neck out for no one…” Later on, of course, he does stick his neck out, for everyone, and Nora (Bacall) tells him that he says one thing, but his whole life tells something else.

There’s something beautiful about that part of the story line. It makes me think about how much it doesn’t matter what we say, but who we are. And it plays out both ways: sometimes we talk big and disappoint ourselves, and other times we talk timidly and surprise ourselves. I’ve heard it said: “ it is better to remain silent and appear a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve done that, I would be one wealthy woman. In the main, we are all a mixed bag. Just like Peter the Apostle. Gary W. the Profound preached a kick butt sermon this morning about the disciples in the boat when Jesus came walking on the water, and Peter’s faith filled, doubt filled step into the waves. One moment he’s declaring Jesus as the Great One when no one else had the courage, the next minute he’s denying Him 3 times. Good grief, aren’t we like him! I love the bible, full of folks like us, mixes of greatness and folly. The thing is, Jesus picked Peter up every time he messed up, and saw him for who he was becoming. He always looks at us with unreasonable hope. Keep that in mind when you make a complete disaster of your circumstance. Or when you sin again despite your desperate desire to change. The One and Only will always pick you up when you call Him. He sees the hill you’re climbing, and he sees you already making it to your destination, no matter how many scars you have when you get there. And in the end, you’ll take not one ounce of credit, because you’ll know the joy of a great Savior who got you from point a to point b.

Since the accident, I am more acutely aware of my weakness than I’ve ever been. If I’ve gotten from point a to point b, it’s only because of the greatness of the Great One. He’s the ultimate hero, who “stuck his neck out for everyone”, even those who hated Him. I’m the world’s biggest chicken. I got out of the boat only because it tipped over. But my greatest longing is to be brave for the sake of Christ. Like so many of you have been, sticking your neck out for my family. It’s been stunning to see folks get out of their nice dry boats during our hurricane. Bogie would be proud.

If you’ve never seen Key Largo, go get it! Edward G. Robinson is positively diabolical as gangster Johnny Rocco. Lionel Barrymore as James Temple is fabulous. And of course, there’s Bogie and Bacall and light and shadow. Doesn’t get any better than that…

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


Post Script IMPORTANT: After I wrote this post, Smitty informed me that Bogie uses that line in Casablanca, not Key Largo. The Bacall line is correct. However, he basically says the same thing in different words: "One Johnny Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for..." Sorry for the mistake, but you get the gist anyway.


Larry said...

Caught the last half hour of Key Largo the other night. Love how after Bacall hears that Bogart's character is safe and coming home, she walks to the window, opens the shutters and a warm, bright light envelops her.

The wonderful light at the end of the terrible storm.

Kindest regards,

Larry & family

Stephen said...

Loriann, you ARE a tall, graceful beauty. You just happen to be the pocket-sized edition, that's all.
XOXOXO always,