Thomas Griffin (8/12/20)
The Guardian is a movie about the lives and mission of Coast Guard rescue swimmers. Ashton Kutcher plays a standout candidate who has some learning to do from lead teacher Kevin Costner. There are many teachable moments throughout the film that bring life into its greatest context because it shows the fragile nature of our existence. The ocean has a mind of its own and a power that is unmatched in nature. Therefore, the training of the candidates is realistic, grueling, and intense.
There’s a scene when the men and women are training in the pool that is a turning point in the film. One of Ashton Kutcher’s closest friends in the swim academy is struggling with this drill each time it comes around. One person jumps into the pool at a time when an instructor acts as a victim in the water who needs saving. However, the instructors talk about how many people are so out of whack when they are confronted by the rescue swimmers that they sometimes become violent.
They become so petrified of drowning that they climb on the rescue swimmer and do not know their own strength. The reality is they can very easily drown the rescue swimmer out of their own fear. Kutcher’s friend is having trouble becoming forceful with the one he is trying to save. After several weeks of being defeated he finally takes control by being tremendously strong towards the person in need of saving (he actually injured the instructor in the process). The takeaway for the candidates: their role as savior will not always be praised, noticed, or even accepted. Sometimes people don’t even know they need to be saved because they are so afraid of losing what little they have left.
Many times in life others are trying to throw us a safety net and pull us out of the danger we are in. But we can become defiant of those who try to help because we are so scared of the position we are in. Other times we are the ones who are called to be forceful towards those who we know are in need of help.
Like the rescue swimmers, we need to know when it is time to save through strength – like the rescue swimmers, we need to realize that the alternative to not being strong is the drowning of the one we are trying to save. When the stakes are high our response must also be high. When we do that we might not be loved in the moment, but we will be known as a person of rescue.
Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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