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“Castaway” and Letting Go

When things begin to get tough the question of “what if I just give up and turn around?” seems to come to mind. Giving up seems to be the best decision at hand. It would be the easiest route, and, I mean, what’s the point of finishing this silly tough task anyway, right?

I felt this at times through the year here at the Seminary. Things would get tough, I would not know how to deal with them and I thought “why didn’t I just go to a regular university instead?” I was holding onto my own idea of what I thought was best. In the film “Castaway,” Tom Hanks’ character is forcibly stranded on a life-sustaining island. He is able to stay alive for multiple years on this island through sheer perseverance and a desire to get back home. He then is given an opportunity to flee the island and return to his real world on a handmade makeshift raft. Tom Hanks made it out to sea on his raft and gets a full view of what he is leaving behind. I could not but help to fill in the blanks of that silent scene. He wants to go back: it’s safe, it’s survivable, and part of him thinks that he can accomplish what’s best for him on the island. Moments after, it shows Tom Hanks furiously paddling back to the real world. He continued on with his rubbish makeshift raft because he let go.

When we let go of desires to be without God, we allow ourselves for greater possibilities, greater possibilities created and thought of by God. These possibilities might not be pleasing to us or even enjoyable, but through faith in God’s wisdom, we can believe that in the end, they will be fruitful. When we follow God’s path, we open up the way that is meant for us, the way that is specifically designed for us to have the fullest life. However, God’s way isn’t usually our first instinct. I can attest to this. Instead of letting go, we just try to carry all our ideas around while still trying to follow God at the same time. What ends up happening is this: we fall on the path because we have so many things that we could not let go of, whether it be pride, hate, or insecurities about ourselves. Anything used in a wrong way can trip us up and keep us from getting into a relationship with God.

God can help us to let go: all we have to do is ask and be willing to let go when the situation presents itself. It often seems as if the most uncomfortable and challenging situations are most fruitful. When we do let go in those painful situations we become more attuned to the main goal: having a personal relationship with God. Everything falls away when we get that relationship, and all that is left is an imaginative looking on of a God filled with love for us.