Real Happiness

Last night a number of members from the ERT gathered to hang out and eventually put in a movie to watch.  While we have traditionally watched movies starring Patrick Swayze, we have fallen off the band-wagon and begun exploring other adventures.  Last night, we decided on the movie “Into The Wild.”

Since the last time I wrote about this movie, I have read Jon Krakauer’s book of the same title.  I’ve explored the vastness of my heart, searching for love, happiness, and a way to share my own story.  I wrote once that I thought I knew what drove Christopher Johnson McCandless to seek out the harmony of the wild lands that surround us.  I thought I understood why he abandoned his life and recreated himself.

But each time I read the words left behind or watch the movie that was made about his life, I find myself realizing how different we are.  He and I are nothing alike and our stories are barely an echo of one another.

In what many believe to be his last words and thoughts (as shown in the movie), his wisdom is revealed to be flawed as he discovers what he has been missing for so long.  I don’t know what he was thinking as he lay there dying of starvation, but I wonder if his thoughts wandered to all those he left behind:  His sister.  Jan Burres and Bob.  Ron Franz.  Tracy.  And maybe even his parents.

Next to a passage in Doctor Zhivago that read “And so it turned out that only a life similar to the life of those around us, merging with it without a ripple, is genuine life, and that an unshared happiness is nor happiness … And this was most vexing of all,” he wrote the following:

HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED

The story of McCandless is not a happy one.  Each time I see the movie, I wonder why he couldn’t see what was in front of him the entire time.  So many people loved him, but each time he walked away from them he had convinced himself that the only way he could ever be happy was to find himself in the vast expanse of the Alaskan frontier.

We can learn something from his journey:  embrace the moment and love those that surround you.

There is a prayer that I read on the walls of the Agule Community Health Center.  I don’t know who said it originally but it goes as follows:

LORD, I shall pass through this world once – anyone I can help, any good thing I can do; help me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.

Every day that prayer echoes in my heart, and I continue the prayer replacing the word “help” with the simple four letter word that we all fear: LOVE.

We only have one chance to share our love before we pass through the moment.  And that is the only way we can find true happiness; to share it with those around us.

I struggle with that.  Opening myself up and allowing others to see me for who I truly am.  I like my solitude.  But at the same time, I know that I am not truly happy unless I am sharing my life with those around me, loving others to my fullest ability.  It’s not something that comes easily for me (and many others that I know), but we were created in  the image of God and need community to truly live.

So, I’ll leave you with the words of Alexander Supertramp: “Happiness only real when shared.”

God Bless and PEACE

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