127 Hours To Be Into The Wild

June 6, 2011 — 9 Comments

I recently went to a local playground with my young girls.  I walked around casually following them as they explored the array of colorful pipes and swings.  When I saw my oldest daughter struggling and I offered to help, she shouted “I can do it all by myself.”  Meanwhile, she kept calling on me to help so I was oddly confused.  I’m definitely not God but I wonder often if this is how he feels when we do the same thing. Nevertheless, it got me thinking about how we as humans view the adventure and struggle of life.

I recently re-watched two amazing survival movies, 127 Hours (2010) and Into the Wild (2007).  I’ve always been curious by books and movies like these along with Call of the Wild, Alive, and Unbroken.  Perhaps my quest of manhood is revealed through their stories.  What amazed me most about these stories is that they are based on real events while not entirely dreamed up by Hollywood.

127 Hours features Aron Ralston a 20-something adventurist out west.  He became widely known in May 2003 when, while canyoneering in Utah, he was forced by an accident to amputate his right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself from a boulder.  James Franco did a terrific job playing Aron and the movie was anchored by director Danny Boyle with dream-like cinematography.  It is a difficult movie to watch due to the amputation scene but like many I’ve spoken to about it, it still captivates you.

Into the Wild features Chris McCandless played by Emile Hirsch, a recent college grad who packs up his car, leaves his family and heads west to the Alaskan wilderness with little food and equipment, hoping to live in solitude.  In only a few months he died of starvation.  While a disturbing movie, it is beautifully helmed by Sean Penn and the soundtrack by Eddie Vedder is inspiring.  I catch myself on weekends driving around town and opening up the windows to listen to Big Hard Sun.

The question after watching these two films is “Why” go on these adventures alone? 

Like these two characters, I love being out on my own whether it be hiking, traveling, or playing golf.  I haven’t been able to do that in a long time but I know the power it can have in restoring my soul, spending time with God, enjoying time to reflect.  I am reminded by a powerful line from John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, which stirs me.

“Men need to go on a safari of the heart to recover a life of freedom, passion, and adventure.”

It is good to go on that journey.

Here is the problem: Man is misguided by the world.  

The world says that he should be an island.  The world says…Go it alone.  Rely on yourself.  Don’t admit weakness.

In 127 Hours, Aron becomes stuck and recognizes that he must go to extreme measures to return to the people he loves.  He fights to get back to them.  In Into the Wild, Chris feels like regular society has left him so he must leave it.  People should not be part of this equation, only nature.  In the end of the story as he literally is lying on his deathbed, Chris reflects on the people he loved and who loved him. That is what mattered most in the end.

There is a reason that men ultimately love movies like The Fellowship of the Ring and Band of Brothers because the adventure is about being together.  It is the similar with women and movies they love focusing on deep and enduring friendships.

It is important to go on that “safari of the heart”.  

But that safari is meaningless without sharing the spirit of it with people and God that inspires it. 

9 responses to 127 Hours To Be Into The Wild

  1. 

    Love, love, love this post!!

    I stumbled upon “Into The Wild” on my best friend’s bookshelf and remembered wanting to see the movie, when it came out. I never did… so I was curious about the story. As I opened the book, I became immediately transfixed and devoured it late into the night. It haunted me.

    The very next day, I went to Blockbuster and rented the movie. It not only blew me away and awakened incredible emotion from some unacknowledged part of my heart… but haunted me even more!

    I treasure the experience of both the book and the movie for reasons I may never know – but I appreciate the way you’ve articulated a part of it, Dave. I’m feeling encourage to ponder what you’ve written and even watch the movie again, with it in mind. And I’m gonna definitely watch “127 Hours,” since I missed it at the theater and the story haunted me, as well.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog and for the way you vulnerably share your own unique experience and really thought-provoking look at the things that move you.

    You are an exceptional guy… and I’m grateful to be your friend:)

    Chris

    • 

      Chris, I really appreciate that encouragement and thoughts on these two movies. They are two favorites of mine no doubt. Another friend just asked me what I see as a “safari of the heart.” I truly believe that the lives we live aren’t exactly how God wants to be. Stories like these are meant to inspire, push, and haunt us. They tell us what we are missing but with a big ounce of caution.
      Watch the movies again and let me know how you see them then. Thanks man, I’m honored to walk with you!

  2. 

    The one difference I would point out is both of these young men went to be alone. We often go to be with God. I find that the wilderness without God is a dangerous landscape of regret, misguidance, and eventual madness. With him it a perfect storm of enlightenment, love and friendship. My favorite scene in 127 hours is when he has the vision of his future little boy waiting for him. What a beautiful picture. Thanks for sharing David. Oh yeah, don;t forget to pack you bone saw on that next hike!

  3. 

    I want to watch both of these movies so freakin bad. But I don’t know where to find them.

  4. 

    Both of those are phenomenal movies. I want to say that there is a line/realization in, Into The Wild, where Chris McCandless writes down something along the lines of, “Happiness is best when shared.” I forget what that actual quote was, regardless, he comes to the conclusion that happiness when shared with God or others begins to have more value. Great Post!

    • 

      Pablo, you have tremendous insight. My hope in the story/book/movie was that he would ultimately see Christ. Maybe he did? No one really knows but ultimately the point is made, we are not meant to go through life alone. It is a journey meant to be shared and that stars with Christ.

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