Tuesday, November 23, 2010


When I saw the movie "Up" I think I am the only person who walked out of theater feeling cheated. I didn't know much of the movie beforehand, just that Pixar movies were always so light-hearted and a fun time at the movies. "Up," however, was something quite different. In the movie, love blossoms between a young man named Carl and his sweetheart. We see their lives together progress until one day his lovey passes and he is left ... alone. It was an extremely emotional and heavy-handed thing to see in an animated movie, especially from a movie studio that usually delivered the light-hearted fun. It also set the tone for the rest of the movie and I walked away thinking "that was a lot more serious than that I was ready for and open to."

I later decided to give it another chance and watch it on TV, however. On the second viewing I took something completely different from it and allowed a very poignant message to permeate me.

Life can be heavy sometimes. Hardships come without warning and on a regular basis. A lot of times the problems can stack up on and compound one another before you take action and suddenly you feel buried -- suffocated. It is an overwhelming place to be and can cause you to get stuck in a rut. Poor Carl, he lost his best friend, his wife, and was told he would be losing their home as well. With an overwhelming chagrin
washing over him, Carl did something courageous and unexpected: he embarked on an adventure. With a slew of helium balloons and a passion in his heart, Carl did something drastically daring and adventurous to remove himself from his rut.

Shortly after embarking on his journey, a young kid named Russell is discovered on the front porch of Carl's floating house and has no choice but to join Carl on his adventure. Russell inspired me by his open-minded approach to the whole situation. Instead of being a victim and feeling helpless he made the most of his predicament and had his own adventure alongside Carl. There was a kinship between these two that negated the age gap and allowed a brotherhood to transpire.

Circumstantial living (that is, being defined and led by your circumstances) can be a tough thing to endure and exist out of. Even the richest of men find their circumstances to be difficult: we are all part of an imperfect world. Who you are is what you do and how you react while life happens to you. While I'm not so sure that tying hot air balloons to your house is the answer to all of life's problems, I do think there is an important lesson to be learned from Carl and Russell. When all hope seems dwindling to the point of non-existence, or the pressure of an imminent situation or circumstance is upon your shoulders, like Carl and Russell we should either take the initiative to make it an adventure or go along with the one that sometimes comes right to our doorstep.

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