The climactic scene in The Outsiders (a coming-of-age movie from 1983) is when a beloved character, Johnny, is on his death bed after heroically saving children in a fire. In his last moments of life, Johnny tells his friend Ponyboy to stay golden. With these words, referencing a Robert Frost poem, Johnny is reminding Ponyboy to hang onto the good in himself and find the good in the world around him. In the movie, it would be easy for Ponyboy to succumb to hardness and anger, because of his life’s circumstances. Johnny doesn’t want that for his friend. He wants Ponyboy to stay true to who he is…to stay golden.
Stay golden rings true for me during this Easter Season. As we once again remember the saving actions of Jesus and the new life offered to us by God, we must stay golden even when darkness appears in our world. Stay golden in the face of the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka. Stay golden despite wars and famine, sickness and poverty. Stay golden even though we face difficulties in our lives, and journey with others who struggle in theirs. Someway, somehow, we must stay golden.
I am not sure how to do that. I know I can’t do it on my own. It takes the support of family and friends, the edification of the Christian Community, and God’s help. All I know is that we are made in the image and likeness of God, saved by Christ, and infused with the Spirit, we are unquestionably called to stay golden.