Gravity: Discovering Life When Facing Death

sandra-bullock-gravity-filmNot to distract from bigbear’s important letter to Cincinnati UBF and to UBF at large and his first post (kudos!), my post provides some levity and counter-programming. On Fri my wife Christy and I went to see Gravity which I thoroughly enjoyed. Christy felt stress and didn’t like it. She even said, “There’s no story line,” which shocked me! Despite her being quite unimpressed, Gravity will be nominated for major awards and Sandra Bullock might win her second best actress Academy Award following The Blind Side.

Previously, I reviewed The Social Network (friendship must communicate inclusivity), The Descendants (forgiving love in the face of betrayal) and Django Unchained (exacting justice where every bastard gets his due). Gravity examines grief and loss and the mastery of life in the face of impending death, which the movie presents with spectacular visuals and authentic human emotions portrayed by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Next weekend, I hope to review the second Hunger Games movie.

The unbearable pain of loss. (Spoiler alert. Stop reading if you have not seen the movie and intend to do so.) Sandra Bullock and George Clooney become lost in space after being hit by exploding shrapnel from another space station. Three others on their team were killed. Clooney, the seasoned astronaut who would retire after this final mission, was a good mentor (shepherd) to Bullock, since this is her first space mission, and she is freaking out. To help her calm down, he asked about her life. She shared that she had lost her four year old daughter in a freak accident. Ever since then her life as a scientist has been a blur. She just unquestioningly accepts her boring daily routine to pass the time without reflection so as to numb herself from experiencing the unbearable pain of losing her daughter. Being lost in space appropriately represents her life being detached and lost on earth ever since she lost her only child.

A sacrifice for the sake of another. During a critical moment where both of them might die, Clooney sacrifices himself so that Bullock might survive. He represents a seasoned person who has resolved his life issues, so that he has no hesitation whatsoever to lose his life so that someone else might live. It was a poignant touching moment that would resonate with any human being who still has breadth.

Facing death. Bullock has to now survive on her own since her mentor is no more. During another critical moment she cries out in prayer for her life and says, “..even though no one ever taught me to pray.” In desperation, she cries out for supernatural intervention. In the final climatic scene of the movie she would either survive and have a hell of a story to tell, or she would be incinerated in ten minutes. And then she laughs with a resolve that seems to say, “Here goes.” She has surrendered her life and sees both options–either surviving or dying–as totally acceptable and happy. I believe that this is how each and every person wants to die–delighted that we live, and totally content if we die or lose everything. It reminds me of Paul who said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). Nothing and no one can ever defeat or demoralize or destroy one who has no losing option, since both options are a joyous gain and victory. It also reminds me of Shadrach, Meshah and Abednego before they were thrown into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:16-18).

Are you happy to live and gain everything, as well as equally happy to die or lose everything? Any answer short of an unequivocal “Yes!” will lead to fear and a suboptimal life.


  1. “Not to distract from [bigbear]’s important letter to Cincinnati UBF and to UBF at large and his first post…” – See more at:

    Ben, it is difficult not to be distracted from bigbear’s article. It seems to me that we just slapped him in the face with two quick articles. I wish we would seriously discuss bigbear’s letter. And we should also seriously discuss bigbear’s first post from back in June:

  2. Maybe I shouldn’t have done this: “slap (bigbear) in the face with two quick articles.” But my thinking was that my “distraction” linked to his article in the first sentence. Also, his article perhaps does not require much comment, for it simply informs in some detail.

    My hope is that UBF will soon begin to humbly acknowledge wrongs from the past. We have at least 3 clear articles (from Vitaly, yourself and now bigbear) that identifies clearly the UBF issues in Yekaterinburg, Toledo and now Cincinnati.

    In today’s world of cyberspace and TGIF (Twitter, Google, Instant messaging and Facebook), people–young people especially–do a search immediately when they encounter something new, say UBF. Then they will find all the negative press and not see a SINGLE REASONED RESPONSE to all the allegations against UBF.

    I believe that the public pressure from UBFriends (and others) prompted Toledo to be the first to apologize. Hopefully, other UBF chapters and HQ will follow suit. UBF has decades of apology, humility, and honesty to make up for. If the leaders do not think so, then certain extinction awaits her.

  3. Joe Schafer

    Yes. Bigbear’s letter deserves attention.