In the movie “The Magic of Belle Isle,” Morgan Freeman plays an angry man in a wheelchair who drinks a lot of alcohol. The backstory is that he is an accomplished author whose life seems ended. He moves into a small home next to a single mother with young daughters. He is miserable and irritated with life.

The next-door neighbors try to welcome him, but at first, he resists. The youngest girl discovers that he is an author. She wants to be a writer as well, so she asks for his help. After several attempts to be good neighbors, the mother and the daughters have a softening effect on the “grumpy old man in the wheelchair.”

Finally, the anger softens, and the man begins guiding the little girl—encouraging her to write. This story is like a parable of redemption, just like Jesus can soften even those who are incarcerated criminals. As the girl grows in her writing, she asks the old man how he writes such great stories. His answer is a parable for Christians and the Church. The old man says, “Never stop looking for what’s not there.”

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Church Doctor Report - July/August 2021

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