A college freshman dealing with physical and emotional struggles is not unique. Where those struggles take Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) in her search for answers is captivating as the plot in October Baby unfolds. Her medical history is a puzzle with missing pieces. Her emotional fabric is torn and she doesn’t know why. After a collapse on stage, Hannah is finally told she was adopted after a premature birth. She survived a botched abortion.
Feeling like her whole life was a lie, Hannah sets out in search of answers to questions not yet fully formed, unaware of how much pain this would invite into her heart. Coincidences reveal clues that lead Hannah to her birth mother. For the rest of the story, I recommend this movie.
The vital importance of family, friendship, freedom, faith and forgiveness, as well as the rich value of human life, are all featured in vivid emotional colors in October Baby. The eyes of your heart will open wide for the hues of hope and love in this story. Forgiveness is portrayed not as an abstract idea but as an uphill journey toward reconciliation in real life terms.
October Baby deserves high praise for its powerful portrayal of moral courage in pursuit of truth; or is it the pursuit of truth that leads to moral courage? Either way, it was a journey Hannah could not travel alone. A childhood friend (Jason) was there for her each step of the way. But older adults (a policeman, ex-nurse and priest) also stepped up to offer pivotal mentoring moments along her journey. Age and culture gaps were bridged at crucial moments and life-changing lessons were learned on both sides of the so-called generation gap.
Hannah’s Parents (John Schneider and Jennifer Price): Withholding the truth from their daughter caused it to come out in hurtful ways. Hannah’s father is too controlling and protective to be open with her. His mentoring mistakes become clear as consequences unfold. Still, great love can endure major mistakes.
A Policeman (Tracy Miller): When Hannah and her friend get into trouble with the law, a police officer takes the time to listen and is able to change gears and sow some seeds of mercy in her heart before Hannah fully knew what had been done to her. He uses police lingo to convey a profound principle that he hopes will help her to “hate the crime, not the criminal.” Under that badge was a heart of grace.
An Ex-Nurse (Jasmine Guy): Following the policeman’s lead, Hannah finds the nurse who signed her birth certificate. Hannah’s unexpected arrival once changed this nurse’s life and two decades later, a second encounter changes Hannah’s life. They share an incredible mentoring moment as the truth Hannah craved comes from a woman who long ago found the strength to turn from deadly excuse-making to life-saving compassion. This ex-abortion clinic nurse told Hannah:
When you hear something enough times, somehow you start to believe it. It was just tissue. That’s what they told us… not viable tissue… I saw the pain and I didn’t see no tissue. I just saw the face of a child.
Hannah was viable proof that human beings are more than tissue.
A Priest (Rodney Clark): Hannah seeks refuge in a cathedral and encounters a kind priest who listens to her vent anger and hatred for her birth mother, her adoptive parents and herself. He sees the love behind her hate and gently encourages her to let go of the wounds others have inflicted. Taking his cue from the Apostle Paul, he mentored:
In Christ, you’re forgiven. Because you’re forgiven, you have the power to forgive, to choose to forgive… Hatred is a burden you no longer need to carry.
The priest tore through a lifetime of cover-ups and confusion with a simple truth: “Only in forgiveness can you be free, Hannah.” A stranger was there to help put her on a track of faith, hope and love. Hannah needed (and got) well-placed mentors in public positions of influence and authority.
If you have walked ahead of others in life’s journey with some experience under your belt, ask God to guide you to a child, niece, nephew, student, youth group misfit, neighbor, scout, or anyone born later than you so mentoring connections can happen. Listen first, then love.
October Baby also features a powerful example wherein life-changing mentoring flows from young to old. Good mentoring makes wisdom flow on a two-way street. God’s desire for inter-generational intersection is brilliantly built into the institution of the family. It overflows into other relationships as well . In an era of family breakdown like ours, good mentoring across age gaps is more needed than ever. October Baby challenges me to defy the alleged “generation gap.”
October Baby: Official Trailer.
The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.