A little over four years ago, the job I had required a lot of travel to desolate and depressing parts Arizona. It was a short stint, but one that often left me lonely and disconnected.
On one such journey to the town of Safford, an eight square-mile dust bowl of fast-food chains and hardware stores, I was surprised when my hotel offered me a free novel. Part of a well intentioned attempt to make a Comfort Inn more comfortable, I suppose. I received a paperback copy of Bless Me, Ultima when I checked in and didn’t think much of it.
I kept the book on my shelves for years, but never read it. I recognized the title, assuming it had garnered acclaim for something, but I had little interest in actually exploring it.
Fast forward to today, when I took my little sister to see the recent, on-screen version. After all this time, I only recently donated my copy of the book, but always felt guilty that I hadn’t read it. Like it had come into my life for a reason that I chose to snub.
The movie was good, well done and pleasantly simple. The story was narrated throughout different scenes, reminding me that it was based on a novel. I like when movies have narration – probably because of how much I was read to as a child.
There are likely lots of lessons one could dissect from the storyline, but I think these quotes sum up my favorite parts:
“It is because good is always stronger than evil. The smallest bit of good can stand against all the powers of evil in the world and it will emerge triumphant.”
“I made strength from everything that had happened to me, so that in the end even the final tragedy could not defeat me. And that is what Ultima tried to teach me, that the tragic consequences of life can be overcome by the magical strength that resides in the human heart.”
“Understanding comes with life. As a man grows he sees life and death, he is happy and sad, he works, plays, meets people – sometimes it takes a lifetime to acquire understanding, because in the end understanding simply means having sympathy for people. ”
Will my life will change significantly by closing the loop on this? Not likely. But it’s nice to know how the story ends.