When Forrest Gump sat on the park bench in Chippewa Square in Savannah, he told his life journey.
Each portion of his life journey was a life chapter. Those life chapters were recreated in Forrest’s mind and visually displayed on the screen as a series of flashbacks. The majority of the film is past-based with only the park bench scenes being in the present.
When you and I describe our life journeys, we’re talking about the past.
Things that have happened. Events that took place. We attach meaning and significance. We include what we want to include and discard what we want to forget.
For better or worse, we make ourselves either the hero or villain of our own life journey.
Our stories become fixed. In other words, we create a narrative and then stick with that narrative. We tell it over and over and over… Those narratives then define who we are – and who we must be. They keep us living in the past.
When Forrest revealed to the elderly woman that he was waiting for the bus to visit Jenny who lived on Henry Street, he was still living the past – he was telling his story of what brought him to that moment. But when the woman said, “Why you don’t need to take the bus. Henry Street is just five or six blocks down that way.”… Forrest instantly snapped out of the past into the present. He quickly gathers his belongings, says ‘Thank you’, and runs off down the street.
The rest of the movie is shown in the present. Forrest knocking on Jenny’s apartment door. Meeting his son for the first time. Jenny telling him she’s sick. Forrest inviting her and Little Forrest to move to Greenbow. Their marriage. Her death. Playing ping-pong with Little Forrest. Seeing the book Curious George that Little Forrest plans to take to school. The feather falling from the book onto the ground. Little Forrest boarding the bus to school. The feather flying away.
The stories and narrative we tell of our life’s journey is our past. Getting up off our buttocks and doing what needs to be done is the present.
Being present is the journey of life. That part allows us to love. To feel. To be present with others.
When Forrest Gump told the story of his life’s journey, the narrative (i.e. past) aligned perfectly with the present. His past stories allowed him to love and feel and live in the present.
I’m trying to re-write the stories from my past so that I can today live in the present. And love. And feel. And be present with others.
It’s important for me to re-align my past with the future I want to live.
The words we use to describe our life journey carry forward and effect today’s journey of life. I’m becoming aware of the words I use to describe my past. I’m re-writing my life’s journey so I can love, feel, and be present with others.