Monday, August 31, 2015

Cast Away

What is the link between Girl Scout Cookies and the movie Cast Away?To find out, read on! This is from 2-19-06.

We are in the middle of the Winter Olympics; it's affecting my television viewing. NBC paid big money for broadcast rights but it seems ratings are down from previous Games. I'm patriotic but I have no interest in what transpires in Italy. To me, winter sports are high school and college basketball. Since I am not watching NBC, I concentrate on CBS and ABC. This is unscientific but it seems to me they are filling prime time with reruns, not wanting to waste a new episode when the audience may be watching skating or alpine skiing. Last night on ABC, they replayed Cast Away.
It's a good film. Tom Hanks plays hard driving FedEx supervisor, Chuck Noland, who goes down on a company plane in the ocean. The only survivor among five employees, he manages to make it to a deserted island. He is sustained supply-wise by FedEx packages which wash up on shore. The movie is his desperate struggle to overcome nature and human frailties. His companionship comes from a Wilson volleyball which deteriorates over time. Noland performs dentistry on himself, no scene for the squeamish. His body morphs from chunky to gaunt as years elapse. Noland's sanity is suspect as he exists in miserable solitude. Believing death preferable to continued life on the island, Noland makes a raft and heads to sea. Of course, he is rescued and there is a huge celebration garnering worldwide attention. A man presumed dead for four years returns from the grave! You would think it would have a happy-ever-after ending but that would be too simple. His fiancee, presuming his death, has married and life proceeded in his absence. His heart is filled with conflict as he re-enters a world he believed was lost to him forever.

There was a scene that struck me as I watched. Fire is a prerequisite for life with any quality, giving warmth, light, the ability to cook food, and a feeling of security. Hanks/Noland worked his fingers to the bone, trying to produce fire from sticks. His celebration when he succeeds and is able to cook a crab is worth the 143 minutes the movie runs. Close to the finish, back in the civilized world, a huge party is thrown for him in his hotel suite. As well-wishers depart, a huge buffet remains, loaded with delicacies. One of those fire starters, the ones you click to light candles or a fireplace, is on the table. Noland picks it up, flicks it to flame, and lays it down. He takes a crab from a plate of crabs, looks at it, and drops it. The items which brought him the most joy on the island had lost their meaning. What moved him to indescribable joy now leaves him emotionless. He walks off to bed, leaving behind the very things he had dreamed of and struggled for with every ounce of his being.

We face what Tom Hanks' character did as we compete in life. How many projects do we begin with great anticipation that die death of apathy? There is wonderful young lady in our congregation who for several years has sold an unbelievable amount of Girl Scout Cookies. I asked her how sales were and her reply was ,''OK.'' I asked why and she told me she lost her enthusiasm. She still sold more than the average Girl Scout but her sales had bordered on the extraordinary. It happens to all of us. We pour our hearts into something and then the newness wears off. There are many things in my life that lost their appeal. I didn't plan it but competing interests caught my eye. That's OK in the world; we can't make everything a priority. But we can't let it creep into our spiritual lives. William Cowper hit it on the head in his hymn, O For A Closer Walk With God. In the second verse, he wrote:

Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and his word?

I guess I understand a little bit losing our enthusiasm in jobs, studies, and relationships, but I can't figure out why it happens in spiritual lives. I would think the longer we know the Lord, the more we would be drawn to him and focus on becoming like him, as Noland put everything aside to make fire. Satan distracts us and I let him. It's not new; nobody ran hot and cold like the apostles. Maybe we have to accept there will be times when fervor wanes. What a blessing that our Father's love for us is not like our meager efforts to serve him! It is so hard for me to sustain the zeal that lives in me on mission trips when I cross through customs and settle back into my daily routine. I am further along than I used to be but not where I aspire to be. Maybe the point is that we simply don't get there immediately, if at all. It's the difference between a GPS system and a map. The GPS tells me my current location while the map tells me my destination. I pray I can keep moving in the right direction and not be content to settle for my spiritual latitude and longitude of today. It took four years for Tom Hanks to be found in Cast Away. I don't have that long to waste!

To hear Cowper's hymn, please copy and paste link below:

Applicable quote of the day:
"Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."
General Douglas MacArthur

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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David Michael said...

Great metaphor for the spiritual life! Some people have the wrong map. Others, like myself, don't like to use maps. I need to use God's map more.

Jon said...

Cast Away is a great movie

JKC said...

Coach, you never cease to amaze me with your writings. What great lessons for all who read your blogs.

I will watch "Cast Away" again - in a different light.

Keep up the good work.