I am David is a film that I had never heard of until last night, and I think it’s an unfortunate circumstance as it appears to be a film that many people should watch. It’s not a film that society would expect to see in its theatres next to the likes of Pitt, Diaz, or any other of the major films that are expensive, quickly made and sold.
But I’m not writing a book review here. I’m still processing and reacting to it, thinking over the lines that I heard and liked the most. They’re not pretty lines. They’re not poetic, or uttered in a field of flowers. The lines are of a little boy, growing up in a communist prisoner camp his whole life, simply saying that he’s scared, but doesn’t want to be so any more. It’s uttered in the bunker, where mattresses are a faintly remembered fantasy, clothing is gray with dirt, brown with mud and likely shed blood from being beaten. Clothes don’t fit well, they’re taken off of somebody’s who was killed by the guards.
The little boy says he doesn’t want to be scared anymore, but the adults around don’t have the same ability. They knew life before the camp, before the pain, the beatings, the blood, the fear, they knew goodness existed. This little boy didn’t know what “good” was, but he knew there was something other than evil.
Do we sense that goodness exists, expect something different, even if only we know badness? Is that a sense of the Divine, of the Holy Spirit telling us about Home? Has God planted, grafted into us a sense of Him and are we only able to know that faintly remembered fantasy if we’ve been immersed in the pain and known nothing else?
Just think about the heavy simplicity of the statement “I’m scared.” We’re okay with the words if its a kid reacting to the dark or a nightmare, but what of it when adults say it? What do those words mean when adults, grown-ups, say “I’m scared.” They don’t shout it, they don’t say it at all. They whisper it, in wavery voices, as though they’re even more scared of the idea of someone, something else knowing, that they are afraid of something. Why doesn’t saying that you’re afraid carry the same weight as saying one is scared? What’s so primal about it? What’s so fearsome about it?
Why does it echo in my head?
“I’m scared. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”