The other morning I found myself alone for a few uninterrupted hours and was excited to do a little present making for the ones that are always around. I gathered my supplies and season 3 of The Waltons, put in disc 3 side A and watched the first couple of episodes. It's the second one that got me. I've seen it before and I like it. Yes, they are all a little sappy, but I love the big old farmhouse. I love wise daddy and mama. I can relate to grandma who spends all of her time slapping away at grabby grandpa and pretending that she's irritated when all the while she loves her 'old man'.
So, at the end of this particular episode I found myself crying, and because I was alone I could actually put thoughts to my feelings. John Boy has been 'asked' to tutor another scholarship student (who is in danger of failing) over the coming break. He is outwardly gracious but inwardly he's frustrated to give up this time. Tom is embarrassed at the request and the time that will be sacrificed on his behalf. They agree to meet after football practice (Tom's is a football scholarship).
John Boy invites Tom (since he's a dorm student) to stay at his house for the long weekend giving them more time to study. Everyone likes the gentle giant and the tutoring is successful. On exam day all is going well until the last question. Tom is unsure of his answer and glances at the paper next to his to see if he wrote the same date. John Boy sees. Someone else sees John Boy see. Therein lies the conflict. The university exams are run by a code of honor. There is no professor present and if you see someone cheat and don't report it, it's as if you cheated yourself... immediate expulsion.
Long story short, Tom gently but emphatically insists that John Boy turn him in. In the end, the University's question is, "how can we let him stay on when he has broken our code of honor? The argument is that this quiet young man (who wants to become a lawyer so that he can go back to his little town and represent the coal miners of which his gentle, uneducated father is one) who gets up early to work, stays late for practice and insists on justice for his friend is exhibiting honorable character.
I cry toward the end when I see the argument presented and imagine all of the injustices that happen daily. I cry at the verdict. I cry when Tom and his father (who though they have no money for travel, is present at the hearing) are talking at the end... but those are not the tears I wanted to remember. I cried because I was thinking about all of the people that come across our paths. Some to make an impact and move on, some to stay and become a permanent part of our lives... all making a difference if we allow it. In uncle Tom's Cabin there is a part when spiritually sensitive Eva is moved by injustice and she says, "Such things always sunk into my heart; they went down deep; I've thought and thought about them." Yes, Eva...
So the final summation by author Earl Hamner (speaking John Boy's thoughts) said pretty much the same thing... about people coming into our lives and touching us in a way that will always be a part of us. I may be mincing this up a bit but it's what I heard at the same time I was thinking it, and just like Eva, it sunk into my heart and went down deep! I was filled with that crazy joy that can only come from the Lord and the truth of His gifts. He gave me a gift yesterday... and that's the long story short.