“What’s my destiny, Momma?” was the childlike question that Forrest Gump choked out as his mother lay on her deathbed. You may remember that Forrest first heard of his mother’s illness when he and Lt. Dan were eating lunch on the shrimp boat; what did Forrest do when he heard the news? He jumped off the shrimp boat, swam to shore and ran home to be with her.
Of course it’s comical to see Forrest just stand up and dive off the shrimp boat without a second thought. But it’s a common human reaction when hearing news of a sick loved one. Concern takes over, we may drop everything and react, we simply want to be there. Just like Forrest, we run to the side of our loved ones and may either be there to help, or be there to experience a final moment or a final conversation.
When Forrest finally arrives and is seated next to his dying mother, we are witness to those final moments as they talk candidly about living, dying and destiny. Directly from the script, here is that conversation:
FORREST: What’s the matter, Momma?
Momma: I’m dyin’, Forrest. Come on in, sit down over here.
FORREST: Why are you dyin’, Momma?
Momma: It’s my time. It’s just my time. Oh, now, don’t you be afraid, sweetheart. Death is just a part of life. It’s something we’re all destined to do. I didn’t know it, but I was destined to be your momma. I did the best I could.
FORREST: You did good, Momma.
Momma: Well, I happened to believe you make your own destiny. You have to do the best with what God gave you.
FORREST: What’s my destiny, Momma?
Momma: You’re gonna have to figure that out for yourself. Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Wow! Eight lines exchanged between two people … a dying mother and her loving son. Straightforward and direct. What’s the matter? I’m dyin?. Why? It’s my time. Don’t be afraid. Death is just a part of life. While an extremely tense and dramatic scene, the words are simple and candid. They express love while dealing powerfully with reality. Momma Gump is saying good-bye to her son.
After dealing with the sad reality of Momma’s pending death, the conversation continues, takes a more positive tone, and shifts towards the future … “I was destined to be your momma. I did the best I could. I believe you make your own destiny. Do the best with what God gave you. What’s my destiny, Momma? You’re gonna have to figure it out for yourself. Life is like a box of chocolates.
Momma never failed him, did she? She consistently gave him wisdom in little epithets like nursery rhymes so they would be easy for her simple-minded son to remember and keep close to his heart through life. And does it really need to be more complex than that? Momma Gump tells Forrest to continue living. Figure it out. Do your best. Use your God-given talents. MAKE YOUR OWN DESTINY!
Eight lines in a movie. Are you facing life straightforwardly? Facing reality? Doing your best? Using your talents? Are you optimistic about the future? Are you figuring things out? Are you creating your own destiny?
Next Blog title: What’s your destiny?
Next Blog date: May 10, 2010