Reel Life Journeys

Search for life’s meaning leads us to the Hereafter

Hereafter-700

Meet Marie.

Life is easy for Marie, a television journalist in Paris. She searches for the truth in every interview she conducts. She is passionate about her job, which makes her very successful and popular in her community.

One day while vacationing in a seaside village , Marie walks through the market, shopping for gifts from street vendors. A little girl tries to sell her a bracelet. They both turn toward the ocean to see a tremendous tsunami wave destroying everything in its wake. They run away but are quickly swept up in the tumultuous water. Marie slams into the debris, hitting her head on a bridge.

Slowly sinking and dying, she experiences a vision. Everything becomes dark and completely quiet. There’s no sense of time or emotion. In the distance she sees a light, which grows closer and closer. As the light envelopes her, she becomes aware other beings, including the little girl with the bracelet. The vision doesn’t last long as Marie is pulled out of the water and resuscitated.

Back home in Paris, the haunting vision affects her work and her life. She can’t ignore what she saw, yet can’t convince others that her vision was real. She takes time off from work to write a book about her experience.

Alone, she searches for answers to these questions: When we die, is our life over or is there another existence somewhere? Is there anyone who understands and believes me?

Meet Marcus.

Life is difficult in London for Marcus and his twin brother Jason. Often left alone by their mother who struggles with two jobs and a drug addiction, the boys keep up the house and help their mother present a good image to concerned social workers.

Jason, the older twin by 12 minutes, is a talker. Confident and caring, he organizes the day for his younger brother and himself. Marcus has grown dependent upon his kind brother for most decisions.

One day while running an errand, Jason is accidentally killed crossing the street. Suddenly Marcus is separated from his twin and doesn’t know what to do. His life is further complicated when his mother is placed in a treatment facility, so Marcus is sent to live with a foster family.

Alone, he searches for answers to these questions: What do I do now without my twin brother? Can anyone help me talk to Jason?

Meet George.

Life in San Francisco is confusing for George, who is blessed with the psychic ability to communicate with those who have passed away. When he touches a person’s hand, he is able to connect with people in the afterlife who were important to that person.

He used to make a living with his psychic ability. News of his special talents spread across the Internet as more and more people sought him out. Though George retired from public appearances and private readings last year, his manipulative brother still asks him to do “one more reading” for business associates.

Unfortunately, George views this ability as a curse instead of a blessing. The psychic connection from a touch interferes with his ability to be intimate with anyone, so he isolates himself. He purposely works a construction job with little human interaction. At night he drowns out the voices in his head by listening to audio books by Charles Dickens.

He wonders: Is it possible to live a normal life with this ability? Can anyone understand what I’m going through?

In an effort to get away from his San Francisco life and sort things out, George decides to visit London and tour the historical sites of Dickens. He ends up at the London Book Fair where he hears Marie read from her new book. He also meets Marcus, who recognizes George from photos on the Internet. The three lives intertwine in a satisfying conclusion.

The questions asked by Marie, Marcus and George are familiar to us all, for they are core questions of our human existence.

When I was a student at Notre Dame, I took a course titled “Life after Death,” taught by Father John S. Dunne, C.S.C. Father Dunne taught that mankind relies too heavily on a linear concept of time. We are born, we live, we die, and according to our Christian faith, we then go to either heaven or hell. Most people think of life as a straight line through one existence to the next.

However, Father Dunne proposed a circular concept of time, which can help us live a full life today.

Since we know for certain that some day we will die, we should accept this fact unconditionally and cast off the fear of dying. With God’s grace and love, personified in Jesus the Christ who died for our sins and rose from the dead, we should live each day with a peaceful confidence.

It is then that we can truly turn our attention to helping others feel this same love in the here and now, without worrying about the hereafter.

CF

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