I got deeply disturbed by a very short film shown today during our regular flag ceremony at work. It was about a father who worked at a railroad company, and his son. The son adores trains, and regularly plays on the railroad tracks. The scene began like any other day. The father can be seen working the controls at a small office, and the boy was scurrying over a stream. Somebody calls the office, and the father could be heard saying “Yes I can see the boat”. Apparently, there was a bridge that could be pulled up to separate a portion of the tracks since that part runs over a river, where water vehicles can pass through. The father didn’t immediately notice that a train was coming but the son did. He was shouting at his father, who didn’t hear him, that a train was indeed coming. At this point in the film, it alternately showed that the boat was slowly cruising, the train was fast approaching, and the father beginning to panic because he could not see his son where he was playing moments ago. The film also showed the host of passengers that the train was currently carrying. There were angry people, sad people, hurting people, etc.
And then the father saw the son. The son immediately realized that those onboard would be killed because the bridge was still up. Since his father didn’t catch his attention, his very young mind (I surmise he is about 4-6 years old) made him make his way to levers on the train tracks to manually operate them. And then he slid.
The father saw all of these. He was in a blind panic by now. There was pure anguish on his face as the situation tore him whether to let down the bridge to save the train but, which in turn, would crush his trapped son alive. The moments seemed endless, while the screen continued to flash words like “would you sacrifice many lives for the one that matters to you most?” (or something like that).
I felt like weeping by then.
At the last second, he pulled the lever down. The train and its passengers were saved.
The last few scenes showed him agonizing over his dead son’s body. The ultimate sacrifice. And then John 3:16’s passage: For God so loved the world, He gave us His only Son”. I am born a Catholic and raised to believe in this.
But I am also a mother. I questioned myself after watching it. And I got the same answer over and over. I am selfish. I could not do that. My daughter means the world to me. I would not even blink, I would save her in a heartbeat.