I went to see a movie yesterday – Two Days, One Night. It hit me hard. The story is about Sandra, one of 17 employees at a small factory. She is returning to work after a period of depression, and I guess her job performance isn’t back up to snuff yet. The boss met with the other 16 people and held a vote: Lay Sandra off and give the 16 a bonus of about 1000 Euros each or keep Sandra and forget the bonus. The result? 14-2 in favour of the money. At closing time on Friday, Sandra and her friend meet with the boss and convince him to hold another vote on Monday morning. Sandra has the weekend to approach each of her fellow employees and ask them to vote to keep her on.
This is life in all its rawness, and realness. How do you compare the value of someone losing her job (with the family likely having to go on welfare), with the stories of many other people who are just getting by?
One family saving for their kids’ education, a second one wanting a new patio, a husband and wife at war about “the right thing to do”, a man in tears as Sandra approaches him, horribly guilty about having voted for the bonus … it’s all on the screen. Plus Sandra’s decency – her tears when someone says they’ll vote for her on Monday, and her gracious “I understand” when another person says they need the money. And then there’s her courage, knocking on door after door, not knowing whether she’ll be hugged, hit or ignored. Such grace.
I sat in the theatre watching the largeness and smallness of human beings. All part of the tapestry. All to be honoured. And yet … may we be large.