At a once-in-a-lifetime feature anthology of a famous Australian’s life, my family and I drew a fortunate straw, landing the private gig for the measly sum of $100AUD. We were even more surprised to find Russell Crowe, himself--personally honouring this outstanding Australian--presenting it. And it all took place in the intimate surrounds of a car.
We opened the book of this person’s life with Russell and he took us through this their life, where they were born, their various childhood experiences that influenced them in later life, and finally their achievements and successes. He was glowing in his admiration for this person.
Towards the end of the session, we had the presence of mind to have our photo taken with Russell and to engage him more personally. I mentioned how I admired his work in Gladiator (2000), and paraphrased Richard Harris’s words relating to Russell’s authenticity and depth of character. Russell mentioned he’d never seen the interview, (which for a moment I doubted).
This discussion led me to ask him some more probing questions in private, just him and me, during our final few minutes with him. Searching for the right question, and not to waste the moment, I hurriedly pondered. I finally asked him what his life secret was--the one that kept him going through all the frustrations and knock-backs, and even the successes, and probably also the escapades with the tabloid press.
This is basically what he said. ‘We must realise that the Devil is 46664 years old and he’s the master of frustrating us. We must be prepared to outlive the Devil (though not in terms of earthly life) meaning that we can’t afford to let defeat tarnish us even in the slightest. Defeat is nothing.’ In other words, we can’t afford to give up, even for one moment. (But, he said this in a way as not to condemn hopelessness. God is graceful and compassionate with us in our despair, and provided we reach for him, he can give us a revelation to pick us up.) We just must understand that giving up emotionally is as devastating as acting without purpose. With this in mind we strive to go on, each moment.
With the strength of earnestness, and that stern but engaging look that only Russell Crowe can give, he left me with that and with the passion to burn brightly for some time yet; it was inspiration, in some ways, for the rest of my life. He’d been an ambassador of Christ to me, and to my family.
We so rarely capture dreams in their entire essence, and because this dream was so vivid, and was given to me so privately, I have decided to write about it and share it with you. The allusion to the Devil’s age is significant in two parts; firstly, the Devil is much older than 46664 years. Secondly, Nelson Mandela’s prison number was 46664. There is no link here other than to use Mandela as the quintessential illustration of resilience and patient longsuffering and as testimony for how to defeat evil. 46664 years is merely illustrative of a ‘long time.’ That is the significance of the number. It meant something very personal to me regarding the personal character required to ultimately defeat evil.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.