road to darjeeling.

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I live a lot at the crossroads.

I know what I’m getting myself into here, diving into the grey area we all struggle with. I’m okay with that. More so, I have to poke at my story a little bit. I see more than just crossroads. They are roads that lead all directions. Some at different inclines, some that are scary, and some that curve around steep terrifying edges.

I remember the road from the train station in India that takes you to Darjeeling.

Flat at first, and then you start climbing. Little houses and stores line the curves, every so often coming across a “Coca-Cola” sign from the 80’s and you remember how vast some empires reach.

I am afraid of heights. But I was okay with this.

Along the winding road up the mountains, we picked up a few people. It’s a little weird at first, then you realize this is how things are here. Personal space? Nah. Squeeze in a few more. Don’t like people staring at you? Get over it.

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This road, albeit at times frightening with its steep cliffs and no guard rail, was met with some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. Tea farms. Small schools. Roadside snack joints. Tea shops. Cool foggy air.

It all seems like a blur at times, considering how long ago this was for me. But I think of it often.

Life presents options in various seasons, and some more important than others. I’m not talking about the day to day decisions you have to make, because I know how much that stresses you out. Since being off my foot, I’ve been at the register at work and all I see are people stressed with decisions. “What side would you like?” followed by a huge dramatic sigh, all the while hoping they don’t have some sort of breakdown.

I guess I’m a little like that as well.

I am not expecting answers, though. I am only discovering how I thrive in the midst of turns and inclines and dead ends. But on these roads, you still pick up people. All sorts of people. You see terrifying things. They might break your heart, and they might fill you with deep joy.

I’m not afraid of questions, nor am I afraid of crossroads. And I am not selling my soul, but finding it.

Slowly-slowly, listening to my history and imagining my future,

from where I came,

to where I am going.

Tom Hanks (And What ‘Cast Away’ Taught Me About Hope and Fear)

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I really like the movie Cast Away.

I guess I just like Tom Hanks. (Though I’m not super stoked about his mustache right now.)

There is a scene at the very end, where he’s at a crossroads.

He had set out to deliver a package, one that he had kept the entire time he was stranded on the island. On the front, was an image that gave him the idea to build a sail onto his raft. It saved his life.

We see a woman and her dog pull up in a truck. She gives him options as to where he could go next. She turns out to be the owner of said package, but in the movie, we don’t know what happens. He delivers it to her home, but she isn’t there. Yadda yadda yadda. I’d like to think they lived happily ever after, but I don’t think they did. I think her role in his life had already run its course. (But then again, this is me watching Cast Away at one in the morning.)

In his passenger seat, is a volleyball, that I assume will take the character of Wilson (again), his past volleyball friend. Also, about three jugs of water.

In the back of my mind, I think, “Dang, he must be like, super healthy…eating nothing but raw fish and water and coconut.”

So he leans on his car, and eventually drives away, but we don’t know where.

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I’m not sure why this image is in my head. I suppose you have to be in the moment, and not reading this as randomly as I’m writing about it. Because for five years he stayed on that island. He accepted death, and was able to leave only by the means of a random piece of garbage that washed ashore.

I guess the moral, near the end, was that you never know what the tide will bring.

And I think about his seclusion, his loneliness and anger. His needing to survive. I think about desperation, and the point at which you give up.

I wonder, at which point does hope become greater than fear. I believe both are big driving factors.

Some days, I feel as though I live more in fear, than I do hope. But there is something much deeper in hope. There is nothing to gain from fear, except maybe protecting yourself temporarily from something harmful, which isn’t always the best way to handle it.

So I don’t really know if this is about Tom Hanks surviving on a big island.

That one scene though, where he has all the options in the world, is really liberating. Not because I have a million options, but because sometimes life takes a turn, and you are presented with them, like a gift. Though what it took to have those options, could’ve been a nightmare, or simply, a change of heart.

To his name, he had a map. Some water. A volleyball, and Elvis. (And I’m sure a lot of FedEx money.)

So I guess you can’t really give up.

It’s too easy.

And you can’t move in the way fear makes you move. (Unless you are being attacked by a flock of geese, or something.)

I’m talking about the expectation of fear. Fear of reaction, fear of disappointment.

 

Move along, though.

There is plenty to see. Plenty to do.

In fact, the world relies on you to do it.

And hey, if Tom Hanks can do it,

 

so can you.