I just watched the movie “127 Hours” with my 15 yr. old son. It’s about a hiker who gets trapped in a canyon for…127 hours …with his hand pinned by a giant rock. I rented it a few years ago by myself, but I must admit that I watched that hour-and-a-half movie in about 40 minutes because I fast-forwarded most of it. When you KNOW that he is going to (spoiler alert) eventually drink his own urine and saw his own arm off, it’s unbearable to watch everything leading up to that. Since I was being tough (and closing my eyes or watching through the cracks between my fingers), I “watched” the whole thing. I have to tell you that by the end I was surprised to be choking back tears. (Evidently I lost a bit of the relief and celebration of the rescue when I sped through the tense parts the first time).
I have always assumed that the main point of the story, other than it’s a TRUE story, is to point out the resilient spirit that arises when the situation calls for it. We amaze even ourselves (been there, done that). But that would be only part of the point.
I realized half-way through, because I was actually LISTENING to the movie, not just watching it at 4x speed, that it was about the dangers of ISOLATION. Or the importance of COMMUNITY.
At one point, while his hand is wedged between the canyon wall and a giant boulder, he is videotaping himself talking. He basically talks about how sorry he was that he hadn’t returned his mother’s phone call the night before and how in trying to appear like a super-hero and independent, he had told NO ONE where he was going. He concludes that, “this rock has been waiting for me my whole life. I did this to MYSELF”. When he finally saws himself free and comes across some other hikers, they zoom in on him yelling…”Heeeeeelp. (gasp, choke, parched mouth). I need heeeelp!”
A great story about how we need each other. We were designed for companionship. At the time, ISOLATION feels cool, confident and…safe. Boy, have I been wedged by THAT rock.
As I was having a “discussion” with God a few months ago about why in the world He would let me start my Real Estate business when he knew I would get Leukemia and be unable to work 2 short months later, he gave me a wonderful answer. All of a sudden I realized that part of the point ( there are always more parts, and hey, they are not always about ME) was that preparing to sell houses forced me out of ISOLATION and back into the COMMUNITY I’d been hiding from.
Prior to launching my new career, I sent out about 100 HAND-WRITTEN notes and letters to people who I care about but hadn’t connected with for a long, long time. It was scary but healing for me, and I hope them. I also got on Facebook (with much arm twisting) for the first time. I was able to reconnect with hundreds of people who I had isolated myself from for a couple of years after Blake left his position at Hope Church. By the time I got Leukemia, it was a natural thing to reach out to these wonderful friends for help.
ISOLATION is safe, but dangerous. Lonely. Unfulfilling. I am so grateful that my life brought about circumstances that forced me to risk pursuing COMMUNITY and come out of hiding, because we all need “heeeeeeelp!”.