by Philip Pfanstiel

I didn’t want to watch this movie. Knowing that “The Heart of Texas” is about tragedy and forgiveness and that it involves the death of a young child; these were all things that kept me from watching the movie. It hits too close to home. With five young children, thoughts of losing any of them to tragedy is a thought I want to avoid.

Surprisingly, when I did watch the DVD it was one of the most heartwarming, redemptive and thoughtful films I’ve seen in years. I would highly recommend it.

The premise of “The Heart of Texas” is simple; a young child is killed in a tragic accident and the film follows how the family and community responds. What is not so simple is how the family, especially the father responds.

The recommendation of Jesus to go the extra mile does not even begin to describe how the father reacts to this tragedy. I would go into more detail but the video does an extremely powerful and poignant job, so I won’t mar it.

However; I do think the practical examination of forgiveness and how forgiveness looks in real life was very powerful. I’ve shared with my students the basic premise of the movie and they are amazed that the father didn’t just “get even.”

I explained that no one ever gets even. You hurt me, I hurt you, you hurt me back … and the gift goes on and on. The teeter totter of hurt will only stop when one person decides to stop pushing back. As Gandhi wrote “an eye for an eye and the world will go blind.”

No one wins in the cycle of hurt and retribution that is glamorized by movies, TV and video games. While revenge satisfies a primal need, it in the end leaves everyone worse off. There is a power in forgiveness that the mainstream media doesn’t understand, but this film reveals beautifully.

As a recent immigrant to the Empire of Texas, I’ve often heard that things are always bigger in Texas, this film definitely proves that there is an immensity to “The Heart of Texas.”