11.13.2007

Gratitude: Enzo The Baker

I’ll be out of town visiting the in-laws next week when Thanksgiving rolls around and probably won’t have time to write anything thoughtful, so I thought I’d get my Thanksgiving thoughts out of the way ahead of time. Here is part one:


One of my all-time favorite movie scenes occurs fairly early in Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic classic, The Godfather (for what it’s worth, as good as it is, I think that The Godfather is slightly overrated, but I love this scene).

Vito Corleone, Don of the Corleone crime family and the “Godfather” of the movie’s title, is in the hospital, having barely survived an attempt on his life. His youngest son, Michael, comes to visit him, but discovers that his father is unguarded and all by himself, and realizes that another attempt is about to be made on his life.

Michael calls his older brother on the phone and tells him to send reinforcements, and then hides his father in another hospital room.

About this time, Enzo the Baker arrives.

Earlier in the movie, the Godfather had used his considerable influence to take care of some immigration issues that Enzo was struggling with, and now the young Sicilian has come to pay his respects to the ailing Don.

Michael tries to warn Enzo of the danger he is in, but Enzo refuses to leave:

“You better get out of here, Enzo, there's gonna be trouble.”

“If there is trouble, I stay here to help you. For your father. For your father.”

The two men go outside and wait on the front steps, posing as bodyguards. A car of would-be assassins pulls up, but confused by the appearance of guards where they weren’t expecting to find any, they drive on.

Scared to death, Enzo begins to shake and struggles to light a cigarette. He is out of place in the world of organized crime, but a debt of gratitude has compelled an ordinary man to act in an extraordinary fashion, risking his life to save someone else.

• • •

We talk a lot about being thankful, or grateful, at this time of year, but I wonder if we don’t often mistake appreciation for gratitude.

Sure, we’re glad that we are able to gather with family, and we appreciate the fact that we have a lot of blessings—we certainly wouldn’t want to try living without those blessings—but often that’s as far as it goes.

But gratitude goes a step further than appreciation. From Wikipedia:
“Gratitude is the substance of a heart ready to show appreciation, or thankfulness; it is not simply an emotion, which involves a pleasant feeling that can occur when we receive a favor or benefit from another person, but rather the combination of a state of being and an emotion; often accompanied by a desire to thank them, or to reciprocate for a favour they have done for you.”
Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation accompanied by a desire to act. It was a deep feeling of gratitude that drove Enzo to disregard his own safety in order to help the man who had helped him.

In the second half of this post, we’ll look at one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament, and then consider the theological implications of gratitude.

4 comments:

Veronica 11/14/07, 5:01 PM  

Good post, but one question - will there actually be a part 2 of this? Because I'm still waiting for part 2 of the Fayetteville Fall Trees. I just don't want to get my hopes all up again for no reason.
(we miss you Luke)

Luke 11/15/07, 7:38 AM  

V,

I fully intend to follow-up with part 2's of both posts.

It's just, with no comments on the fall trees post, I assumed that the demand wasn't so high.

I'll try to get both posts up by this weekend.

Rachael the Great 11/15/07, 8:16 AM  

When are you guys leaving town for Alabama? I am trying to figure out if I will see you at all this Thanksgiving.

Luke 11/15/07, 10:00 AM  

Rachael,

We'll be leaving either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning; there is still some debate about this.

When are you coming down?

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