One way door


[Spoiler alert: Contains details about the plot of the movie “The Drop.”]

I watched The Drop last night at the strong recommendation of a combat veteran friend of mine. I speak with this friend frequently about his dismal self-image. He continually refuses to accept compliments or recognize the good things he has done in his life. On the other hand, I notice his compassion for people in all circumstances, his willingness to be a friend and aid to those in need, and his dedication to spiritual seeking.
During a conversation last week about our differing views, he said, “Watch the movie The Drop. It explains how I am.”

The main character in the movie, Bob, is a bartender at an establishment owned by the mob and periodically used for a dirty money drop. Bob is portrayed meekly and calmly going about his rather decent but sterile life while criminal activity goes on all around him. He adopts an abused puppy. He develops a relationship with a woman.

When all hell breaks loose, though, and the woman and puppy are threatened, Bob pulls a gun and kills a man without blinking or changing expression. We learn his backstory. Ten years earlier, he killed a man for a small-time mobster relative and his actions changed him. In a voiceover toward the end of the movie Bob says, “There are some things you can never come back from.”

Through this movie, I understood my friend better. There are things he has done which cannot be undone. The boundaries within him have been changed to the point where he is capable of monstrous acts. It isn’t just that he did things in combat which he now finds abhorrent. It is that those actions primed him to be able to act like that again in certain circumstances.

We talked after I watched the movie. I told him that, yes, I now recognize he has walked through a one-way portal. I also told him I believe the measure of a person is not what they are capable of doing but how they choose to conduct themselves in the now.

A lot of questions have occurred to me over the last twelve hours and even as I write this. I wonder about the nature of good and evil, about the consequences of walking through certain doors, and the existence of forgiveness–from God, from others, from self.

These are vital questions, not only for my friend and so many others like him, but for me and for everyone. Every choice we make takes us through a door which closes forever. There is no going back, only living with whatever we find beyond.

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3 thoughts on “One way door

  1. Once one knows that one is absolutely capable of inflicting the unthinkable, it dominates one’s thinking. Add to that the slightest satisfaction at being able to accomplish the unthinkable at need and other, less primal elements of one’s mind recoil in never ending revulsion .
    I am responsible for what I’ve done and must take on the never ending task of holding that desperately useful but wholly inappropriate beast in isolation.
    Yes the door closes. I am become my own constant jailer.
    What’s really hard is knowing I would do the same again, given the same need. Plays Hob with the civilized self image.
    To live causing no harm is a precept which helps.
    Thank you for the insightful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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