Merigian Studios


Thinking About Tomorrow

Thinking About Tomorrow

What is it about watching a movie that can send us into a mood disturbance? Not all movies have that effect on us, but some of them can have a profound effect on our emotional well-being. Some movies make us feel light on our feet, happy and joy filled. We sometimes experience good triumphing over evil in other movies. Every time I watch Forest Gump, and I watch it every year around this season, initially I get an overwhelming depression, a sadness that percolates from the deep vast underwater currents of my unconscious mind. Then at some point, the feeling of despair morphs to hope.

On the surface, the plot is a love story between a boy and a girl who meet one morning on a school bus. The boy Forest, is a simple common child who has a very simple approach to life. He is considered stupid by almost everyone he meets and he is crippled. The girl, Jenny is her name, on the other hand is beautiful and engaging. However she has demons that prevent her from living a healthy sober life. All people go through periods in their lives when their past demons hinder them from being successful, but Jenny has a group of demons that are entrenched in her consciousness, they are unrelenting and merciless.

She goes through life trying to find her perfect place in relationships that are drug infested and abusive while Forest is going through life taking everything one day at a time. He has a very simple relationship with the world. He takes everything at face value, finding something the good in evil, and order in chaos. He is certain about living a good life and knows right from wrong. He has no demons since he sheds his braces that helped him walk and comes to terms with the fact that he is intellectually challenged. He accepts who he is and does not try to be someone he is not. He almost lives his entire life heartbroken. He rescues Jenny from several intolerable abusive relationships only to experience her rejecting his love-filled efforts over and over again.

Forest becomes a millionaire many times over. Jenny hits rock bottom and becomes a heroin addict. They meet up after Forest's mother dies and have a single night when Jenny and he sleep together. Jenny runs away again, but during her life after making love to Forest, she births his son. While Jenny is going through her challenges with motherhood, Forest takes a journey by running back and forth between the US coastlines over a three year period. He tries to work out the unfairness of loving someone who does not love him back. He realizes that the past cannot be fixed and when he accepts that Jenny is incapable of loving him, he stops running.

What he does not realize is that Jenny loves him, but she just cannot face him because she feels so unworthy. Forest is unsullied. Jenny has lived a hedonistically based life trying to find something that fills the holes in her Soul. What they had in common was that they were two people reared in a small town in rural Alabama. Forest had the nurturing and unconditional love of his mother despite his mental and physical challenges. Jenny on the other hand was born with a high intellect and physical beauty only to be reared by a dirt poor, child molesting father.

Ultimately Jenny cleans up, becomes a waitress in a small town restaurant. She finally contacts Forest, introduces him to Forest junior and she asks Forest to marry her. Forest is overwhelmed with joy and agrees. Unfortunately Jenny is dying from some mysterious viral illness that has no cure. I suspect it was Hep C. Jenny dies relatively soon after their marriage. Forest buries her at the foot of the tree that they climbed up as children. He returns to her grave, professing his love, thankful that he was able to marry the woman he adored.

This is a long movie. It takes time to develop the characters and subplots. Forest is good through and through; he lives to serve the highest good. He recognizes the flaws and disturbances in Jenny, but somehow finds a way to look past those flaws and focuses only on her undeveloped internal beauty. She is a complex hot mess, but with him, she returns to the innocent child archetype again, full of hope, love and understanding. Her periodic rendezvous with Forest where almost like an episodic out-of-body experience where she can see the undying goodness in life. Those random encounters with Forest throughout her life did not influence her choices; they were always inherently bad or they resulted in bad outcomes with the exception of conceiving Forest's child. Forest cared and loved her because she was his girl. He did not want anything bad to happen to her, but she was a free spirit and she had to experience her life. Jenny realized the innocence of which Forest's worldview was constructed, but she was unable to enjoy it. She wanted their son to benefit from a father who was simple, loving and unconditional. Jenny never had that chance. Her life was a tragedy.

Forest Gump the movie, connects me to my inner being: a part of our collective self that wants to love and be loved by another person. Forest could not live with Jenny as a strung out hippie in the seventies, but he could create an image of her in his mind that was pure, loving and generous. That is how he envisioned her and stuck to it through thick and thin. His love for her got him through the most difficult times in his life, despite being a fantasy. He depended on her image. She was what he looked forward to. She was his purpose in life.

Forest was embodied with the hopeless romantic archetype, never wavering in his commitment to Jenny, nor himself, nor their relationship. All too often, all of us at one time or another settles for a relationship with a person we do not love deeply, but we think our relationship will be okay if we marry or live with a father/provider or a mother/home organizer. I have been guilty of that indiscretion myself. And in the end, the relationship falls apart. Those relationships that are not based on a deep unwavering romantic love do not mature like fine wine, they disintegrate into sour vinegar, leaving a bad taste in our mouths. Those relationships that are based on a strong unwavering romantic love never stop maturing or growing. They are relationships that are rare and enduring.

Recently, a person who I regard as one of the best therapists in Memphis fondly labeled me a Hopeless Romantic. Then he said that you will never give up until to find that woman you are looking for. I smiled and told him that I found her, married her and she died. This year, it will be seven years since her death. I sculpted two different monuments to her. I find myself speaking to them often. Just like Forest Gump did to Jenny in her grave under the climbing tree. Perhaps that's why I'm profoundly affected by Forest Gump. I had a Jenny.

During the New Year, I hope all of you who have a Jenny or a Forest in your life experience nothing but happiness and prosperity in your relationship. I hope it lasts for your lifetime.

For those of you who are like me, a hopeless romantic, I hope your romance comes true. At the very least, don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

Posted by Amanda Sanders at 4:33 PM
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