spiritual life

Forrest Gumping my way through life

In the waning hours of Mother’s Day, I was sprawled on our couch watching Forrest Gump with our teen daughters and the dog.

An entire generation has passed since the last time I saw this 1994 movie. I don’t know if it’s middle age or concern with the fact my daughters will soon be facing the big decisions of early adulthood, but I was struck by how similar my life philosophy is to the title character, a man with an IQ of 75.

It’s true. I wouldn’t know a strategy if one bit me.

This was the case when I was a student. I floated happily along — rarely even aware of deadlines or demands yet somehow meeting them.

This was the case during my most intense years as a journalist — even when I was covering a state Legislature. Many of the stories I got that other writers did not had less to do with my reporting skills than the fact I thought the back stairways of the Capitol Building were great fun to explore. It’s amazing what you can find out when you intercept senators who are sneaking junk food up to their offices.

Don’t even get me started on parenting or the writing of books. How any of it works is a mystery. Then, now — just as it was with Gump — things just kind of happen to me and around me and I move with them.

Sometimes it’s really good things. A brief encounter that leads to a marriage, career breaks, bizarre free stuff, unlikely mentors, someone else’s odd need or idea that turns into an opportunity to do something that had never even crossed my mind.

On the flip side, I also tend to be there to, say, witness muggings up close enough to be able to testify in court. Or to get a concussion from a car accident so minor the damage could have been covered with a Band-Aid … and the concussion recovery time prompting me to start blogging and self-publish my first book and so on.

At times, my serendipity-prone life concerns me (and my husband, who was born with a need for data). Decades of life already complete, it seems like I should have it more together than I do. And, what about my daughters? Is there anything about my floaty way of thinking that will serve them well?

That is why Forrest Gump was such a comfort, on a Mother’s Day especially. Throughout the movie, it was clear there was more than parental love in play in this story. God was just Romans 8:28 all over the guy. Not because Gump was smart or together or had a plan of any sort — but because God is good and Gump was consistently and diligently available to be a vehicle of that goodness.

Available for God’s goodness.

I may be clueless — and I am — but I can be that. My daughters can be that. Anybody can be that — even in a time of murder hornets, COVID-19, political mayhem, economic depression, emotional depression and rolling disasters.

It’s true. God is not depending on me having it together. He is not depending on you having it together, either. He has it together. And, no matter what chocolate comes out of the box next, that will be enough.

62 thoughts on “Forrest Gumping my way through life”

  1. Nora, I agree with you on your assessment of Forrest and the goodness of the Triune GOD in Gump’s life. I think I have to rewatch the movie and see it in the lenses of GOD’s love and mercy. Thank you for this, Nora. My apologies, I forgot to say this yesterday, happy mother’s day! GOD bless you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you too, Nora for sharing snippets of your life story! GOD’s goodness, love, and mercy is shown. Like any new things that happened to Forrest (e.g. ping pong), you too had a new chapter when you published your first book and start blogging because of the extra time you had as a result of the previous chapter. GOD is good, all the time!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Boy, are WE on the same page! I recently got a call from a former student I hadn’t seen in 20 years, asking my advice on getting a job in the field I taught. I sheepishly told him he was asking the wrong person. Every job I’ve ever had was dropped into my lap. Everything I’ve ever pursued didn’t pan out. My final advice was to keep doing what he was doing, just pray and give his life to Jesus every day and see what He does..
    P.S. I love the way you use “Romans 8:28” as an adjective and “Forest Gump” as a verb. I’m pretty sure you’re the first one to do that, but we all know exactly what you mean.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you told the student the odd truth about life!!

      I have to really laugh about your P.S. I just got taken to task by our youngest daughter on this kind of thing last week because I couldn’t help her diagram a sentence.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My daughters are always diagramming the things. They think I’m crazy when I say, “I’ve never met a person who actually writes for a living who spends much time thinking about dangling participles.” They usually leave the room before I get to, “Writing rules are great. But, the goal is communication!”

        OK, I’m off my soap box. Thank you very much!

        There is research on this?! (I do know Beatrix Potter said she was glad she was not formally educated as it would have probably stopped her from working the way she did.) I’ll have to read some of it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had a seventh grade teacher who saw to it that I could diagram sentences in my sleep, lol.
        Years later I had a friend who wanted to get her college degree in art but lacked one class to graduate – English 101. She could NOT get nouns, verbs, sentence structure, etc. She was expressing her frustration about it as we had coffee together.
        I thought, “Art … visual learner…” I grabbed napkin and a pen and showed her how to diagram a sentence, and something “clicked.”
        She grabbed a napkin and said, “Let me try that …” I gave her a sentence, and she diagrammed it. Gave her a longer one, she diagrammed it. In five minutes she got grammar and sentence structure!
        So, different things work for different people. Teachers just can’t assume that “what worked for me is going to work for everyone.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The funny thing about this is that no one ever tried to teach me to diagram a sentence. I started school in California and they were teaching wildly creative writing, spelling etc. at the time. I’m pretty sure it didn’t work for everybody, but it did for me.

        I eventually internalized the “rules” through reading, but the non-traditional school culture gave me delightful permission to break them. Writers seem to fall in one camp or the other — traditionalist or experimental. I like both types of work — and pretty much stick to AP style when I’m writing for magazines. But, I play a lot, too! This latter probably drives some writers and English teachers a bit crazy. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed your Forrest Gump-inspired post, as well as the comments. Have you read the book, by any chance? It’s quite different from the movie in its portrayal of Forrest–and not in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That is sad. I wonder who took the work and made it wonderful? That would be a story in and of itself! Of course, Tom Hanks might have been able to redeem an iffy script all by himself. He is truly gifted.

        Have a blessed start to the weekend!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post Nora! Oh I am so very glad that “God is not depending on me having it together” Very, Very grateful that “He has it together.” And your closing statement, “And, no matter what chocolate comes out of the box next, that will be enough” is worthy of being stitched on a sampler and hung on the wall for people to read, chew on and discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dianna! God really does seem to be at work in this season in multiple ways. It’s sobering, but interesting. I’m glad He’s in control. Blessings!


  5. Mmmmm good stuff!! What a great point!!
    He is totally in control even when life is 100% not in our control as we are seeing lately. This has been so good and such an important lesson for my natural control-freak self.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not sure about you, Nora, but as a HUGE chocolate groupie, I’m kinda hoping what comes out next in that box of chocolates is rich and dark (my favorite.) But, as you said, whatever will be, will be. Trusting and believing God can bless whatever flavor comes next. Blessings! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I miss wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day…better late then never. Happy Mother’s Day. I am saving this post, too good not to read again. My husband and I always say “It’s a God thing” when ever things just happen in our lives. If we need something sometimes it just shows up, or how fun is it when those nice surprises happen that were weren’t expecting. God knows what he is doing. Have a beautiful day where ever you are minus those murderous hornets of coarse.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s been so long since I last watched Forest Gump. I really enjoyed learning more about your journey. I can’t help but think of one of my friends who told me “God is in control.” in spite of all that goes on and the free will of others. Cheers and enjoy your memorial weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nora, I absolutely adore how your mind works. What a powerful truth to be revealed through watching Forrest Gump. πŸ™‚ I love how Holy Spirit can share a message in the most unexpected of moments. Don’t you?

    Isn’t it a comforting feeling to know that even when we fall apart, God is still in control? He is never caught off guard, falling apart of unavailable to help us on our worst days. He is Good. All the time. (Especially when we don’t think or feel He is)

    I’ve shared this post and hope others will come to be inspired too. Sending loads of love your way in appreciate for who you are! β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nora, this was a lovely read this morning with my coffee. Thank you. Confession, I had to look up Romans 8:28 — it’s been a minute since I read it. “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose…” I always wondered if Saint Paul meant to reassure the church in Rome but also remind them, “You can love God, but that last part ‘called according to his purpose’ has to be in there too.” Lots to think about. Btw, Forest Gump is a treasure in our family too. I hope you have a beautiful week.
    β™₯. Niki

    Liked by 1 person

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