“The wicked flee though no one pursues.”
True Grit is the story of Mattie Ross, a 14 year old girl living in the old west. Her father has just been murdered by a hired man named Cheney and Mattie is not about to let him get away with it. As the narrator of the story Mattie states:
“No doubt Chaney fancies himself scot-free. But he was wrong. You must pay for everything in this world, one way or another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.”
Throughout the story Mattie relies on her courage and her wits to overcome the many obstacles in her path. Mattie never looses her resolve, even when those with her decide they must give up and go home, but what does it matter in the end? Mattie’s moment of victory is the same moment in which she is terribly wounded and nearly looses her life. Just as she never physically recovers from the wound she receives that day, she does not psychologically recover either. As recorded in the book on which the movie is based, Mattie grows up to be a successful banker, but she takes on a steely demeanor and she has failed to form any meaningful relationships in the 25 years since her adventure. Her last friends were the Marshal and Texas Ranger who help her track Cheney but the day he is found is the last day she sees either of them.
Though Mattie accomplished her goal and later moved on to the tasks of adulthood, her life is far from whole. She has just barely lived through some hard experiences and in the 25 years that follow, most of her love has drained away. I am reminded of our class discussion about whether or not the Bible is enough to help clients achieve mental health. It is clear to me that the Bible is the only thing that could move Mattie to a healthy mental state. The world cries for retribution but the Bible offers love and Mattie was sorely in need of it. Only by responding to the love God shows us could Mattie learn to offer forgiveness to those who wronged her and fight the cold bitterness which threatened to overwhelm her life.