Placed in the late 1920’s era within the turmoil of the Great Depression, the movie Seabiscuit provides our travel group with discussion points to speak with the soon-to-be graduates of the Slobodskoy Orphanage. The tie-in between you, me, the orphans, and Seabiscuit is our God and the Heart which triumphs over societal expectations and stereotypes.
In less than one week, Mission 1:27 travelers leave for School Road in Slobodskoy, Russia, home of the Orphanage and 95 boys and girls. For the older kids, approximately 33 soon to be graduates, we will be showing the movie Seabiscuit to stimulate honest and realistic sharing and conversation. Many themes pop out in this movie: loss, transformation, anger, purpose, heart, courage, perseverance, love, and friendship. The Great Depression forced people, including children, to “grow up fast”; “it’s not the speed, but it’s the heart.”
History tells us that it was not uncommon for children of the Depression to become social orphans. One of the main characters in the movie, “Red,” is a social orphan and he walks daily with anger management issues until someone cares and believes in him. “Red” and the children in Slobodskoy are survivors, and survivors grow up fast. They need a place to land, people who believe in them, mentors and friends who are honest and in whom they can trust.
Ernie Arrant, a friend and mentor of Mission 1:27 is a wonderful man who helped open doors to the Kirov Region in Russia for Children’s Hope Chest; Slobodskoy is in the Kirov Region of Russia, some 700 miles North and East of Moscow. Ernie offered the following movie synopsis which ties in well with our planned graduate activity and with our mission at the Orphanage:
The main characters in the movie are a social orphan, a man who is struggling with the loss of his son, a homeless man, and a horse that is abused and deemed worthless to the horseracing society.
Wow! The symbolism is quite remarkable. Orphaned children have suffered immensely and their road to healing is a journey; a journey that they can make successfully with God’s guidance and with a friend. In the movie, “Red” and the businessman learn that in helping others heal, one can be healed. Friendship and helping others will be key topics in our post movie discussions next week. We have been called to love and assist in God’s healing in the lives of these children, but have we not ourselves experienced this paradoxical healing?
I have watched Seabiscuit several times and there are several memorable quotes. However, one stands out to me: “You don’t throw a whole life away because he’s a little banged up.” This quote gives me hope and courage that the letter writing, donations, prayers, fundraisers, time spent in planning meetings, and the travel trips are fulfilling God’s desire for Mission 1:27, and that is: to express that these children have a defined purpose which will be revealed over time, just like Seabiscuit was “ born to run.”
Society has marginalized these children. In many ways, they are like Seabiscuit, undersized for the tasks and expectations of society. What society may not know is that “it’s not the speed, but it’s the heart.” Fortunately for the children of Slobodskoy Orphanage and for you and me, “The future is the finish line, not the present.”