On Friday, I had the great privilege of seeing the movie, Amazing Grace, on its opening day in the theater. I’ve heard of little else in the blogs, e-mails and forums, in the recent weeks, so I was anticipating a great movie, but I didn’t know that it would go phenomenally beyond the hype. It was the greatest movie that I think I’ve ever seen. There are so many wonderful aspects of this movie that I would have to quote the whole thing to give you an accurate view of why you should see it. But since I don’t have total recall, I’ll just have to tell you what particularly impressed me about the movie.
First, I should say that I had no idea who William Wilberforce was before I saw the trailer for this movie, so everything was new to me. My friends tell me though, that it is very accurate and if it is, I can think of no better way to so enjoyably learn a history lesson. I found the whole thing to be very informative and interesting in a way that I seldom see. The acting was so wonderful that I never once thought about them being actors because they portrayed their characters so well. And the sets and costumes were so spectacular that I nearly felt underdressed in the theater.
I was totally blown away by the determination of Wilberforce. He fought for the abolishment of slavery in parliament for 20 years. If that wasn’t astonishing enough, he had a serious stomach illness to deal with as well. It reminded me of my own stomach pains that I occasionally have to fight and realized that I should not let my own suffering inhibit my usefulness and my ability to make the world a better place. Most of us could come up with some excuse on why we can’t try harder to change the world and fight for good causes, but few of us have the excuse that Wilberforce had, and he did something greater than most of us will do.
Another thing that jumped out at me in the movie is when Equiano, the ex-slave helping the abolitionists, says to Wilberforce, “In Africa, I was a prince, in many ways, not unlike you.” This really deeply struck me because recently my family moved from the house I lived nearly my whole life to a different type of neighborhood and I really have been rather ungrateful for this change. Especially in the recent weeks, I’ve been thinking back on my life and wishing I had back the times before. But when he said that in the movie, I was struck by the truth that life on earth is indeed not fair. God has given me much more than I deserve and my job is not to compare the situation I’m in now, to that of others or what mine was before. My job is to do what God has placed me here for.
The other character in this story that I really admired was Barbara Spooner, who eventually married Wilberforce. She first meets him when he leaves parliament and goes to visit his friends who are attempting to heal him from his illness. At the time that he meets her, he has given up on the whole idea of his abolishing slavery. He’s ready to admit that he failed and that they had lost the battle. But as he tells her the whole story of his fight, trying to explain to her why it’s time for him to give up, all she sees is that he’s come to close to give up and she convinces him to keep trying. That is how we should all strive to be. If we don’t do many hard things ourselves, we at least should encourage others to do hard things. We should be others’ confidantes, encouragers, and stability when they’re confused.
Seeing this movie helped me to raise my own bar higher than I want to, but know I need to. It’s inspired me to do new hard things as the old ones get easier. I wish to be like William Wilberforce, Equiano, and Barbara. I want to fight for good in this world, no matter how foolish it may seem.