The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Mar 5, 2015

Palpitate Your Heart with "The Drop Box"

For two hours the audience remained silent, other than the sounds of women and men blowing noses and sniffling, accompanied by the whispering sound of a hand wiping a tear away from the cheek.

Movies are typically full of noise, as moviegoers riffle around in their popcorn boxes, slurp from the big cup or tear open candy packages. This sold out theater was as silent as the sold out theater at American Sniper.

Perhaps the silence was due to the subtitles, as the story unfolded in Seoul, Korea. Perhaps the audience, like me, didn’t dare turn away for a second, so as not to miss a moment of Pastor Lee Jong-Rak’s story.

The movie moves back and forth through the life of Pastor Lee and his wife, their two biological children and their adopted children. The audience meets each child, and is introduced to their unique disability. We become entranced with the story of how they came to be a Lee child, and the husband and wife team who lavish them with care, love - and human value.

We learn about the issue of baby abandonment and the general population’s history of ignoring the problem. And I think: They could be talking about America.

The Drop Box was built into the side of the church, which is also their home. It provides a safe place where mothers can leave their babies, and we hear the “ding dong” resonate through the house, when a baby is deposited. In the dark we watch the adults rush to action from their slumber, racing to the box, removing the beautiful infant, praying over him or her, beginning the process to provide them life. We witness this, amongst the splash of news reports from around the world - babies thrown away in the trash or abandoned alongside the streets.

We hear of the cultural rules against unwed births and the reasons that these abandonments occur. Our hearts ache for the mothers, most of them teenagers. Our hearts bleed for the fathers, the married parents, who have disabled children and cannot care for them, left with no option but to abandon them to an orphanage.

And I think: This is America’s not so distant past.

We watch them care for their 26-year-old son, who was born with severe deformities and spent 14 years in a hospital. We tear up as Mr. Lee talks about selling their home to pay their medical bills, living in the hospital corridors, in order to provide for their son.

We meet the beautiful toddler girl, left on their doorstep in the middle of a cold, freezing night, who surely would have frozen to death, had they not found her. We learn that she was the reason he created The Drop Box.

Pastor Lee’s box is not the first of it’s kind. The movie tells us about such a box created in two other European countries, one of which is Russia. We hear about the great controversy over these drop boxes. As we watch the miracle of saving a life unfold, we struggle to understand how anyone would rather these children be left to die elsewhere.

Pastor Lee’s biological son is unable to move and has a breathing tube in his throat. We watch them clean the hole, bathe their son, talk, touch his cheek, laugh and love him. This one child alone is an incredible journey of decades spent in complete devotion to one thing – the value of his existence.

The Lee’s do not spare one ounce of that same dedication towards any of these children, many of them abandoned due to extreme physical and health disabilities.

The director, Brian Ivey, from Los Angeles, originally set out to make himself a name at the Sundance Film Festival. His goal in making this movie was one for his own professional success. However, he shared during a post movie interview, that his life was forever changed within the six months he lived there. His focus for this movie switched within days of arriving. He originally thought the story was about the country’s conflict with one man saving children, and soon realized the story was about this family’s dedication to the lives of unwanted and unvalued children, abandoned on a doorstep. And in that story, he found his own soul.

I can’t narrow down one event in the movie that struck my tear ducts the most. Many of our tear production began during the special previews prior to the movie, calling attention to the crucial need for foster and adoptive parents in America. Perhaps the movie stirred me because I was a baby born to an unwed teenage mother and I know, firsthand, the pressure my mother endured to get rid of me through adoption.

One lone fact wound itself tightly through my heart. All of these children, given some sort of label, such as blind or deaf, unable to function – responded to their caregivers with smiles, eye movements, vocal sound and whatever limited physical movements they could create. They were alive, and inside their restrictive bodies, their minds were receiving the positive input and in return gave love in the only way they could.

The Lee’s message was heard loud and clear. Each human life is important – every life has worth. Every single one of these children is valuable. They are a gift from God and have a purpose for arriving on our planet, on the Lee’s doorstep, and in our midst, right here in Seattle.

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