Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Watching movies is one of the ways I invest my day offs with my kids. It is becoming a custom after lunch or dinner the family gather together in the living room to watch TV or movie; somehow this habit provides a sort of bonding moment for the whole family. Last week we watched Harrison Ford’s Witness. This is a 1985 American spine-chiller film about a young Amish widow(Kelly McGillis), and her 8-year-old son (Lukas Haas) who inadvertently sees two men atrociously murder a third. This film limelight on a detective (Ford) protecting this young Amish boy who becomes the target of a brutal murderer after he witnesses the killing ,a slashing in the restroom in Philadelphia train station while on their way to visit her aunt. The movie did well at the box office earn eight Academy Award nominations. It depicts a thrilling and heartbreaking love story and choices we make in life and the choices that other people make for us. One thing that really struck my attentiveness is how the movie describes the Amish people. Truthfully speaking, that was the first time I chance upon such a word and I don’t have even the slightest hint which people the word refers to. Puzzled and interested, I googled the word for enlightenment. The Amish are group of Christian church fellowships that began in Switzerland. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and disinclination to embrace many conveniences of modern technology. Amish people are clean living people who value rural life, manual labor and modesty. These people have heavy emphasis on neighbor and family relationships. They believe that being friendly with neighbors and relatives are the greatest roles of the family. The movie describes Amish as anti-individualist. They readiness to submit to their belief is asserted through collective standards and modern innovations can only trigger less reliance on community and will advocate contention and personal egotism. Despite all the times that has passed and the many transformations that have taken place in our humankind these people manage to detach themselves from the things of the world. They believe that materialism can not keep them from being close to God, and can bring up notorieties that could be devastating to their communities and to their way of life. This movie brings me to a question wondering how these people can survive in their supposedly backward ways well in fact, now days everything is about material things. We all live in a dynamic materialistic world imbued by wants. While Amish do not own or operate automobiles, limit electricity, telephones, TV and radios in their homes or even restrict taking photographs we pamper ourselves getting luxurious cars, getting the latest phones, living in the best house, wearing the most expensive clothes and other gratifications. Everyone wants to be right at the top there in term of worldliness. Owning things becomes too important for most of us. We gauge ourselves by our money and what we can buy. I do understand that what is acceptable in one community may not be acceptable in another and I see nothing wrong with wanting nice thing and enjoying life because that is how God intended to be for us. Nobody wants to struggle with poverty or hardship. The problem arises when we idolize and get obsessed with these things, losing our consciousness on the fact that we should be focusing on what we really just need. We all want to be more excelling than the next person so we lose focus on life’s simplicity. Therefore, these things can become an anathema rather than a blessing and we can now understand the animosity that causes people to go into atrocity. People find themselves experiencing astounding feelings due to someone else owning or possessing enticing items that they do not. For example, your next door neighbor just bought Bang & Olufsen — a 3D TV you’ve been obsessed with for months now but you are out of financial means. Emotional pain, self-worthlessness and self-doubt set in. That's what envy is. Envy may negatively influence the closeness and satisfaction of relationships. Amish way of life can be a valuable epitome in restoring family morals, our relationship with our neighbor, and our desire for having strong work philosophies. Their high value on patience, self-control, peace of mind and rejection to pride, conceit and egotism are worth emulating. As I sat watching the finality of the movie, I ponder how little we really need to be happy. I realized that the pursuit for material things has made more people unhappy that happy. Material things can keep people focused only on their self interest rather than on how they can benefit others. I realized too that the key to a happy life is the pursuit for simple pleasure which in today’s day and age is an act of fortitude. It may not thrill our neighbor or the people who knows us but it will make your family feel happier. Indulgence and materialism actually ends up limiting our freedom because we dedicate most of our time and momentum to get hold of them and engrossed ourselves in many negative exploits for its sake. Simple living is satisfaction on what we need rather than what we want. Simple living is living intentionally with freedom, faith and integrity.


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