Probably this story would never have made it to the big screen without the football angle, but the importance to Michael would have been no less if the love and parenting had simply prepared him for a career at Wal-Mart on in the fast food industry or in construction or for some other more mundane way to make a respectable and honest living and escape the drug culture he came from. As depicted in the movie, Michael was basically a well-mannered, good natured, and easy-going young man who made it easy for the Tuohy family to love him. If he had ripped them off the first night in their home, the story might not have had such a happy ending. So it was a miraculous meeting and demonstration of God’s grace that brought them together and created the opportunities for both, one to serve and the other to be served. Almost none of us have the love and personal resources combined with the opportunity to do as much for someone, but if we all only did 2% as much, it would change the world and completely dwarf any improvements we can expect from stimulus spending, extended unemployment, universal health care, cap and trade legislation, and withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
I personally am shamed by how little I do…probably a dozen hours a week or so on average helping with food and clothing vouchers or assisting with rent and utility payments at a local agency, The Cooperative Ministry, or repairing homes for elderly low-income homeowners with Home Works of America. The benefit I get from actually talking face-to-face with the folks we assist and learning more about their situations far exceeds the benefit they get from the meager assistance we offer which, unfortunately, is often enabling rather than life changing. Still, I highly recommend getting so involved. Send some money if you like, but follow the money with your hands and feet. It is that personal touch, not a check from the government, that can change the world.
And, by the way, is it possible that a blockbuster movie such as this from Hollywood is an indication of some cultural shift toward more caring for each other? It seems Hollywood always argues that the vile stuff they produce is not a driver of society but simply a reflection of it so maybe the same is true here.