Forrest Gump is one of my heroes. The world thought he was stupid, but in Forrest’s own words: “Mama always said, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’”
What came natural for Forrest always gave me a problem. For example, he loved Jenny with an everlasting love. He was loyal to her to a fault even in the face of her constant rejections. He had that rare gift of loving and accepting people just the way they were. And best of all, he understood his strengths and his weaknesses. He was not the least bit hypocritical. With Forrest, what you saw was what you got, and he treated everyone he met the same way.
His word was his bond. After Bubba died, Forrest took Bubba’s share of the windfall profits from Bubba Gump Shrimp and gave it to Bubba’s mama. How many smart people do you know who would have kept their promise and done that?
After his mama died, Forrest sat down on the front porch and laced on his running shoes. Then he was “runNING.” And he ran and ran and ran. It was Forrest’s way of grieving and sorting out his thoughts. Forrest did not set out running to become a spectacle or to draw a crowd, but draw a following he did. I’ve discovered it’s human nature for people to want to latch onto to something – anything that will give them a sense of purpose and meaning. Some wanted Forrest to start a running club with thousands of followers.
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Others took things he said and tried to market them for fame and profit, but Forrest never got sucked into that vortex. He never allowed people to finagle him out of his own identity and destiny.
I think the movie was a satire about our fickle, fad-crazed culture, and the moral and spiritual character we once held in high esteem. At this stage of my journey, I want to run with Jesus. I want to become oblivious to everything in life would distract me from runNING the race to win the prize.
I want to live loved and free in God’s grace, and extend that same freedom to everyone else in the human race no matter how long they run alongside of me. You are welcome to run with me for as long as you like. I hope you will. I’d love the company.
Brian A. “Drew” Chalker expresses my sentiments in this soliloquy: “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do. When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
“They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered, and it is now time to move on.
“When people come into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But only for a season.”
“Lifetime relationships teach lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.”
It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant. I think it’s the other way around. Clairvoyant means, “having or claiming to have the power of seeing objects or actions beyond the range of natural vision.” Jesus is certainly not blind to my faults and sins, and He is love. He sees me beyond the range of natural vision and still loves me unconditionally.
Forrest must have learned his life lessons from Jesus. Jesus always said, “Love is as love does.”
Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey at Lake Wylie, 5415 S.C. 557, Lake Wylie. He can be reached at JourneyFellowshipLW@gmail.com.