Furious 7 and Paul Walker (2015)

Originally published in Wondering Fair

Furious 7 has been, at the time of writing, the 2nd biggest selling film of 2015 and is already the 5th best selling film of all time.  Whilst in one sense, it does just continue the ever popular, fast-paced action films that have preceded it, it is special in that it marks the untimely departure of Paul Walker, who died in a car accident one night between filming. Actually, the film’s plot had to be changed to adjust for this. The last few minutes are dedicated as a goodbye to the key actor as Vin Diesel reflects on their time together. The film finishes with the two drivers, driving side by side, Vin Diesel going off to a road on the right and Walker to the left.

It is a touching gesture and has been dealt with very sensitively. Yet in my view there is a bigger question and somewhat of an elephant in the room: how are we to deal with situations like this? What lies beyond the grave? Is it just a different road through which will meet up with us again or is there something different entirely?

Some of my friends think this is simple: “you die, you rot,” they say. It may not be very nice but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accept it. And, if that’s it, I guess we are right to accept that and face it. But I think there’s something far better – and I think it’s rational to have hope and to believe in something beyond the grave. Let me explain.

Imagine you could talk to a baby in their Mum’s tummy (just humour me here, ok? 😉 ).  That baby might perhaps ask why they’ve got eyes or why they’ve got arms because they’re only partly using them in the belly even though these faculties seem to be developing. You would probably explain to the baby that that’s because there’s another world for which they’re made which they’ll enter soon enough.

Similarly, whilst physically we’re not developing after 18, inside ourselves we are asking deep questions about life.  We are developing intellectually, morally and spiritually year by year by year. For what? I think if we could hear a voice beyond the grave, it would say that’s because we’re made for another world which we’ll enter soon enough.

You see, there’s more to this life than just the few dozen years we live. I think this life is like a test for what comes next. In fact, there are many who would hold this and be happy with the idea that there could be a heaven after all. I’m convinced there is. I’m excited that there is. A place where finally pain, struggles, tears and death will be banished once and for all. But if all the good is gathered up and put in a place called heaven, what do we call the place where all the bad is and all that stuff?

Well, we don’t like to think about that. And I certainly understand why not. Let’s get to heaven so we don’t need to go into too much detail about the other place. Ok. Let’s move on. But then we do need to get around to facing the major question: how do we get to one and avoid the other?

There are many people who will try to answer that question, with many ideas that can make it hard for us to work out what’s really going on. Oh, it would be so much easier though if someone had just been there, done that and could tell us the answer, someone who had died perhaps, had to go through that process and then come back in some way to tell us what had happened. Perhaps someone so clear that it’d transform the entire region within a generation because it was so undeniable.  Perhaps someone whose power could even be known after his time on earth so that we could know it today …

Perhaps, perhaps the answer is already before our eyes.