Reflections: Mystery and the Forest of Life

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Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump (1994)

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump    (1994)

Chocolates, Mystery and the Forest of Life

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” is a phrase that was given to the literary world in the hit movie ” Forrest Gump” (1994). The statement is attributed to Forrest Gump’s fictional mother, one gentle Mrs. Gump, (Sally Fields) , a wise, economically determined and life-savvy widow whose husband was delicately and always away “on vacation”. Perhaps some of the most valuable observations and intricacies of wisdom and even life itself were noted in the fictional life and world of Forrest. The simple explanation of life offered to Forrest ( Tom Hanks) by his mother was poignant, painful at times, and astoundingly simple. As a pure truth, it may eventually be recognized as a far more astute and relevant observation of human beings than has been accorded to date. Forrest, a gentle, mentally challenged and simple man, even as a boy needing clumsy leg braces, did not fail to make the important observations, or ask the important questions about the complications and sanctity of life, regardless of circumstance, even under the threat of personal and immediate annihilation as both an incredibly brave, loyal friend and a unique soldier in the Vietnam war. Life is indeed like a box of chocolates; one may unwrap, open , observe and taste portions of life and be surprised repeatedly. Chocolates, as life, often come in layers, display different contents and offer unique flavours . Until the second, deepest and whole layer of life is indeed discovered, tasted and experienced, however, the box , as life, remains a mystery. The second layer of life lays hidden under the simplest film, but is scribed deeply with the arrival of love, maturity and wisdom. The removal of the paper separator, the child’s simple division between imagination and recognition of fact and reality, reveals the complexity of a second, deeper layer of life that offers, holds, and yields almost as many or more potential surprises and blessings as childhood itself. The simple fact of the matter is one never knows what is in a box of chocolates, life, the stars, or the future itself. No one knows what destiny really is, what will transpire, or why. One simply imagines, hypothesizes, and projects. Perhaps we believe, but still do not know. We run, traversing life wherever we go with great expectations, but truly seldom see the forest for the trees. Many unknowns exist, but society fails to identify or attach significance to them. Perfectly healthy people fall ill for the strangest reasons. Sick people  get well, the reason for the improvement often never really discovered, only appreciated .  Individuals become rich suddenly, yet die inexplicably and shortly thereafter, as if they may have finally acknowledged the completion of their physical destiny, their only purpose in life apparently to become obscenely wealthy. Similarly, the good die young, but the pinch-faced miser clings to life, seemingly to live forever if only to collect yet another penny from the sidewalk of life. Beauty marries the beast, and the ugly duckling swims forever in circles, haunted with the unobtainable obsession with perfection that can never be achieved. “Run, Forrest, run!” was advice given to Forrest when he was to be shipped to Vietnam, a “whole ‘nother country”.  Flight was, and can still be a saving grace under fire at times, yet to flee too far and end up alone is hardly the answer. To live life faster and run farther is not the answer either, for in doing so, the close, the approximate and the beneficial may be stumbled over and missed entirely. The trees and complications of life themselves, as we try to avoid, or pass them, block the view of any own existence, the forest of life. Nobody can possibly eat all of the chocolates, or experience everything offered in life. Inevitably, it is best to thoughtfully leave something;  a partial box, some hope and kindness, as a gift for the people you love. Perhaps Forrest Gump’s shy, simple comment “I ate some” as he handed partially consumed boxes of chocolates to the love of his life, Jenny,— is a direct reflection, indeed, a fine example, of one of the greatest gifts a human being can pass on to those he or she loves. A chance to share, open, taste, and explore what is left of the rest of your life . May this treasure not be lost upon each and every one of us. “And that’s all I got to say about that ” as Forrest would say.   # Is that Incoming I hear? Photo Credit:   lakesbutta [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Tags #reflections,  #people,  #Forrest Gump,  #Mystery +FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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