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Tony Rossi

Radio Host/Producer

‘None of Us Are Beyond Salvation’

Last month, I wrote about screenwriter and director Randall Wallace, who gained fame (and an Academy Award-nomination) over 20 years ago for writing the Mel Gibson film “Braveheart,” about William Wallace and his long-ago struggle for Scotland’s independence. The message of that movie prompted Randall to contemplate the ways that anyone could live with courage, and he recently collected some of the lessons he learned in the memoir “Living the Braveheart Life.”

Randall had good examples set for him by his father and various mentors. And he needed all those examples when faced with a crisis in his own life. After years of struggling to be a writer in the entertainment industry, he finally achieved success in the TV industry. “I had more money than I needed, and had a young family so I bought a beautiful home for us.”

Then, a writer’s strike happened and he was out of work for eight months. During an interview with me on “Christopher Closeup,” Randall recalled facing financial ruin: “I got on my knees and I prayed from the depth of my soul and said to God, ‘If what is best for my sons is that they don’t grow up in a house with a lot of bedrooms and bathrooms and a swimming pool – and they grow up, as I did, in a two-bedroom house with one bathroom and some economic struggles – if that’s what’s best for them, then I pray for the strength to bear it. But if I only have one more thing that I can write before I have to find some other way to feed my family, then let me write the kind of movie I want to see on screen. Let me go down with my flag flying, not on my knees to the false idols of Hollywood.'”

That prayer became the turning point in Randall’s life and put him on the path to writing “Braveheart.” It was during a trip to Scotland when he first saw the statues of both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, one of the country’s greatest kings, standing side by side. Little was known about William Wallace, but the guard there said “that Robert the Bruce may have been involved in the betrayal of William Wallace to clear the way for himself to be king.”

Randall continued, “It was as if I had heard that Judas Iscariot and St. Peter were the same person! I began to ask myself, ‘What if there was something in the heroism and nobility and courage of William Wallace – and even in the death that he died – that helped transform Robert the Bruce from a man who would betray a patriot of his own country into a man who could become the greatest king in his country?’ And that to me was the ultimate Christian story, the idea that we’re all lost, we’re all broken and none of us are beyond salvation and transformation. And transformation like that – real deep profound change in who we are – has fascinated me all my life, and is the basis of my faith.”

Faith remains a guiding force in Randall’s life and work, especially with his last box office hit “Heaven is For Real,” about a boy named Colton Burpo who died during surgery, visited heaven, and then regained his earthly life. Randall is happy to highlight God in his stories—and even happier that these movies keep resonating with audiences.

 

For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, THE GOD OF SECOND CHANCES, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: mail@christophers.org