Yesterday was my birthday. My age doesn’t matter that much for today’s reflection, but the fact that it was my birthday does help explain why I found myself watching The Last Bus on one of the many streaming services to which we subscribe.
The service asks who is watching. I have my own profile and it precisely has my number. I like independent films with not necessarily famous actors or directors. I suppose some of them are well known in certain circles, but usually not by me! My husband wasn’t thrilled with my choice, but, hey, it was my birthday, so he didn’t ask for a compromise film.
The Last Bus is a quiet and simple film about life, love, loss, and commitment.
I recommend it and I also warn you that it will most likely tug at your heart strings. But, if you’re paying attention, you will find it has a hopeful ending and not just based on the final scene. Watch through the credits. It’s a story that could have happened, I think. The main character, Tom, is of a generation that believed strongly in following through on commitments and promises. The character of people of his generation was one that did not turn and run when things got tough. And for Tom and his young bride, Mary, things got very tough. You could say things were unbearable, except that they do bear the tragedy that strikes and they live with them until the very end of this earthly life.
While not a film about faith, if a person of faith watches it, you see the hopefulness of the ending. You see that Tom is a man who has a deep compassion for others, even in his own pain. Or actually because of it.
At one point, Tom wakes up in his latest B & B (he is traveling the length of Scotland and England), and he gazes at a crucifix which, you can tell by his actions, helps him to rise and carry on. It’s a subtle encounter and swiftly passes as Tom continues his journey. But it seems that seeing Jesus on the cross reminds Tom of the pain endured for love. And it actually gives him the courage to continue.
I like to think that Tom is aware that the same Christ who writhes in pain on that cross is the Risen Christ who walks with Tom now in his unbearable (yet somehow he bears it) suffering. It’s a pain that seeks to dissuade the man in his mission, yet he overcomes the overwhelming all for love’s sake. That’s Tom’s motivation. That’s Jesus’ motivation, too.
He gave His word. He is moved with compassion to stand up to authority and the state to get where He needs to go. And there are angels along the way to minister to His Spirit. There are also lesser souls who taunt and tempt Him. But love wins because love always wins. In the end. And when good overcomes evil, when light pours out and dissipates the darkness, people who thought they’d lost hope and who thought they’d lost their faith, find them again.
Look to the cross, look to sacrifice, look to love. Tom loves his bride so much he will do anything to fulfill his promise to her. Jesus loves His bride (that’s the humanity which He deigned to join, the Creator becoming His creature), He loves her so much, He will give up everything to save her. To save you and me.
Watch The Last Bus and remember that love never asks “How much is enough? How much is too much?” True love just gives.