Sometimes a savior
Doesn’t always look like one
Rudy Bue is a high school hockey goalie for the Lincoln Academy Saints whose father was his idol and had died years earlier in a train accident. Wearing his familiar white goalie mask during the state championship game against the Bulls, Rudy suddenly loses sight of the puck during the sudden death overtime and fails to make the save when the Bulls score the game winning goal. Defeated, Rudy tries in vain to scoop out the puck as he sees the flashing red goal lights and hears the high pitched goal siren piercing throughout the arena that suddenly brings back the vivid memory of the ambulance sirens and flashing red lights he witnessed the night of his father’s tragic death.
Devastated by his past and his present, Rudy becomes a recluse and dives down into an emotional tailspin—and it is only his younger, stuttering brother, Jamie, that can reach him. Playing their usual game of flashlight tag one night, Rudy hides in the closet and when his brother finds him, he shines the flashlight into his face and yells “I f-f-found you Rudy…I f-f-found you!” And thus marks the dream like point of the story that begins where it ends—like a déjà vu where time is suspended and then stands still.
Disgusted with his own brother’s failure to recite even the simplest of words—let alone his statement of faith that is required of him for his confirmation service in two weeks—and trying to reconcile his father’s death and his failure to make the game winning save—Rudy packs up and leaves home. After hitchhiking all night, he stops at a small town and meets an old hobo and rodeo clown by the name of Methuen Theophilus Fin. Like Mr. Bo Jangles, the old man is as crazy as he is funny, but when he puts on his white face paint and steps out into the arena with his comical baggy pants to save the life of a downed bull rider during the town’s annual rodeo the next day, Rudy sits up and takes notice. Intrigued by the old man, Rudy decides to stay, and in the process, the old man begins to impart more and more knowledge and wisdom and compassion and revelation from the Bible through an odd dichotomy of bumbling, childlike humor and profound insight. Slowly, Rudy’s heart begins to soften and then change.
As the day of Jamie’s confirmation approaches, Rudy feels the need to go home and face his past where he discovers the truth about his father and the apparent reason why Jamie stutters. The next morning in church, Jamie struggles to recite his statement of faith before a sophisticated and impatient congregation. Just when all seems lost, Rudy appears from the back of the sanctuary wearing white face paint and baggy pants, breaking the tension as he makes his way to the altar. He then stops before his weeping brother and helps him recite his statement of faith: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Suddenly realizing what it means to be a fool for Christ, Rudy rushes back to tell the old man. But like the hobo he is, Methuen has hopped on board the local freight train. As Rudy stands on the railroad tracks calling for the old man, the approaching train’s solitary light grows brighter and brighter. Suddenly the closet door swings open and there stands Jamie shining a flashlight in Rudy’s face: “I f-f-found you Rudy!…I f-f-found you!”