I just watched Half Nelson tonight. I had seen it before when it first came out, and knew it was worth seeing again. Ryan Gosling is an inner-city teacher with a drug problem. He wants to make a difference, while his own life is spiraling out of control. In one scene, he unknowlingly has one of his students deliver drugs to him in a motel while he is partying with a couple of crack smoking hookers. He looks up at his student from the floor with a broken wry smile; he has nothing left to hide. I know that smile. It says, 'you're lookin' at it.' This is all there is to me...this is all there is. What you see is...well, what you get.
How often, in religious circles, do people try to hide who they really are; how often do we try to prop up our fallen scarecrow of an angel guise while it's clear we are cowering behind it in plain view. "I'm just a broken-down piece of meat," says Mickey Rourke. And its true; some days I couldn't describe myself better. The trick is to try to be better--not be a broken-down piece of meat-- but even that falls short under the weight of trying to be in a relentless world of "doing." Sometimes it's just who you are.
I wonder if God has a whole freezer full of rotten meat in his back room he's picked up off the side of the road, because he doesn't know its bad meat, that it will make you sick if you try to eat it, that even when you cook it is still stanks and no amount of A1 ain't ever gonna cover that stank up, and that God has no sense of taste or smell, and doesn't see the flies flying around all nasty, and that he thinks we're the best damn meat he's ever had, and he don't get sick either. He just reaches in and grabs some of that rotten meat and sears it on the Purg-a-Tory grill and oh you never smelled something burning so bad, makes you wish you never ignored expiration dates and fell for the $.99/lb SALE TODAY Manager's Special sealed up in cellophane scam. But somehow that meat comes out alright, and better than alright, this is SOUL FOOD baby, he says, and takes off the Kiss the Cook apron and sits down with St. Peter and eats you up slow, no sauce nothing, just you on that white china bleeding out rare clean as day and says: KHATAM BOI AINT THAT THE BEST DAMN STEK YOU EVER ET??
Hats off to the chef.