One of the most impacting moments of Terrence Malick‘s Tree of Life is this moment where the son in the film prays to God: why do I have to be good if you’re not? Shortly after, there is this beautiful shot where the camera zooms in on the silhouetted back of the boy as he stands in an open door. As the camera approaches, we get a voice-over from the grown-up version of this child saying: Father, why do you hurt us? This moment is so powerful because you don’t know if he’s talking about his earthly father or his Heavenly one.
Fast-forward. The other day, as I was looking through The Economist and reading on all the loss, debt, crisis, and violence in the world, I noticed I kept having similar fleeting prayers go through my mind: why did that happen? or why did it have to be that way?
Neither the son in Tree of Life nor I found answers.