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When I see movies, I silently seek a deeper message; something beyond the actors, their lines and the props. Similarly, when I listen to songs, I desire some deep wave – something to move me beyond the surface… Anyway, that’s me.


Today I saw “Rudderless”. It’s a 2014 American movie of a grieving father (Sam Manning) whose son (Josh Manning) shot and killed six persons in his school library, before he took his own life.


Somewhere along the line, Sam discovers some demo CDs and a notebook containing songs his son had written and recorded before his death.


The movie got me wondering about the thin line between love and hate. It is natural to feel much hatred for terrorists, assassins, religious fanatics, fundamentalists, and all such persons who carry out heinous crimes for reasons we can never understand. Still, one cannot but ponder on what these persons truly were or felt inside before committing such crimes.


Listening to the songs Josh left behind, Sam got to see a part of his son he never knew before. In them, he heard his son long for home, for love, for peace, and for honesty. How could a boy that had killed six persons sing about such things? Furthermore, the songs helped Sam get over the job he had lost, his marriage that was now broken, and his drinking habits.


We aren’t God, and we may not know the heavy burdens people carry around in their hearts. But “Rudderless” teaches us that even a killer can have a side that composes songs good enough to inspire people positively. Soon, Sam had formed a band of very talented young musicians, who knew nothing about the origin of the songs.


However, hell is let loose when Sam’s new band get to know the truth about the songs. Amidst twists and turns, Sam finds some peace again. He decides to let go of the grief and bitterness. More importantly, he finally finds the strength to face the truth of his son’s actions.


Before Sam played his guitar one last time, he felt no shame as he told the crowd the song was composed by his son, who had shot and killed six others few years ago. He felt only regret for not being there to provide the rudder his son needed. As they listened to the song, the audience felt no anger or hatred at what the teenager had done. Only longing – for what he could have become…


“Rudderless” may have had some poor reviews, but I was totally inspired by it. Not because it was some extraordinary piece of art, but because it made me see that it’ll always be more profitable to provide a ship with a rudder, than to rave and rant when it runs amuck.


A kind word here, a gentle smile there; genuine concern for the depressed lady; care for the ailing child; a listening ear to the dissatisfied spouse; some encouraging words for the hopeless boy…may be all the rudder that ship needs.


God bless you!


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