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The Straight Story (1999) - Reprise



Editor's Note: David Lynch's motion picture, The Straight Story, is a film about forgiveness. Actor Richard Farnsworth was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the film's real life main character, Alvin Straight. Alvin, a resident of Laurens, Iowa, can't see too well, has trouble walking, and can't drive a car. But when Alvin finds out that his estranged brother, Lyle, has had a stroke, he decides to travel from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin, to visit his brother. Alvin's mode of transportation? A John Deere riding lawn mower that goes five miles per hour and pulls along a trailer someone nicknames a "hunk of junk." With the help of strangers along the way, Alvin travels 240 miles for six weeks and finally meets with Lyle again. Forgiveness can be a shift of consciousness, an act of faith, or simply riding a lawn mower hundreds of miles because, deep down, you truly love someone. So many times we're encouraged to forgive when we have been hurt, lost a loved one, lost a job, been neglected, felt bullied, or felt unwanted. But what does it truly mean to forgive? How do we do it? Just saying the words, "I forgive you," doesn't mean forgiveness has truly happened. It can be just like saying, "I love you." A person can say this, but not mean it. And, is it ever too much for someone to ask for forgiveness? Should we withhold forgiveness? During a difficult time in my life, I was told by someone very wise that "forgiveness was the final answer." What? Forgiveness? I thought the final answer was always, "unconditional love." Over time I came to understand that forgiveness is the road to unconditional love, and that we need to get on that loving "forgiveness road," first. Forgiveness, I believe, is the final answer. Forgiveness is a softening of the heart, a change of heart, and the remembrance of who we are.



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