Ralph is not well and not happy. His relationship with his son Michael has always been strained. When he invites Michael for a meal so he can talk about his health situation he is taken aback when Michael brings his girlfriend Cassandra along.
Ralph was once a famous writer but knows he is fading with the passing of the years. He’s a pass master at being crabby, cranky and crusty… until he has a strange near-death experience. Suddenly his view of life changes, he finds himself more hopeful, less cranky, and more importantly his attitude towards others starts to soften. He wants to start living again.
Ralph literally has a wake-up call. And it changes his perspective. Folks in the Bible often experience this kind of thing. Peter may well have been sometimes cranky and crabby as a disciple, he certainly spoke his mind and often put his foot in his mouth. But when Jesus, his indestructible role model, died, it shook him to the core. On that dark, good night he was confronted by a fire and discovered his own fear, frailty and mortality. Having claimed he would die for the cause, he discovered he wanted to stay very much alive. The whole thing rattled every cage in his world.
But Jesus was prepared for this, and later, when he met Peter on a breakfast beach, he gave him a new start and a new perspective, and like Ralph, Peter’s attitudes began to change. As a tough guy he thought he could change the world, now, broken and ravaged by life, he was ready to be its servant. This didn’t make Peter perfect, far from it, like the rest of us he was muddling along, but ultimately, years down the line, he would give everything for Jesus. And his near-death experience on that Gethsemane night may well have been part of his preparation for that.