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I'm Just Sayin': Thoughts about Forrest Gump and Whac-A-Mole

When thinking about life, its challenges, and where it often leads us, a couple allegories come to mind. Remember the movie Forrest Gump? There is a famous scene in the movie when Forrest is sitting on a bench waiting for a bus, holding a box of chocolates. He turns to a fellow bus passenger who is also waiting and says, “My Mama said, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” How true. Life may be going good and easy, much like a chocolate covered piece of candy that is soft and easy to chew. It tastes good and is easy to swallow. But, the next piece of chocolate could be very different.

It may be a piece of chocolate-covered caramel that sticks to your teeth, requires lots of chewing and may get stuck in your throat. Kind of like the things in life that are not so good and easy. So, you go through the entire box not knowing what you’re getting next and what it may have in store for you.

Maybe you should eat a box of chocolates like I do. Plunge in, eat them all quickly, enjoy what you can, and deal with the consequences of your own behavior. Kind of like life, isn’t it? You won’t know if the consequences will be good or bad until you plunge in. Hopefully, that plunging will have some thought and planning. But, all too often it does not and we come up gasping for air after the plunge.

Another thought about life is that it is very similar to the game Whac-A-Mole. You know, where you stand in front of a board full of holes with a soft club. When a “mole” pops its head up through one of the holes, you have to “whack it” before it disappears. Your score is based on how many moles you whack in a certain period of time. We seem to have a lot of moles in our lives that need whacking.

Maybe it’s an acquaintance who has cost you dearly. Or a relationship ended on bad terms. It can be the government getting in your life and rearranging things for you that you have no desire to change. Life does seem like a game that requires you to “whack at things” even if you do not want to, just in order to protect yourself.

We get caught up with plunging into life (eating a box of chocolates) and whacking (Whac-A-Mole) at the things we are upset about and we spend way too much time on those things. We should spend more time evaluating what is important and how those things could make a difference in other lives and our surroundings.

As I get older, allegories of life about chocolates and whacking games seem less and less important. What has power and influence are spiritual growth, personal relationships and community service. Life will be purposeful and meaningful if lived with a servant heart.

With those thoughts, I will take my leave. By my own choice, this is my last column for the Echo Press. When I started, I thought I would do this for a year and treat it like an adventure. Well, it’s been three years and more than 70 columns. It’s time to move on to other interests and other adventures. Thanks for the memories, and as usual – I’m just sayin’.

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“The longer I live the more I believe – You do have to give if you wanna receive.” - from Life’s A Dance by John Michael Montgomery.

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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.