Yesterday, my daughter and I went to Target to buy some things. Stuff we might end up taking back. Except, now we can’t, because I lost the receipt before I even got out of the parking lot.
A gust of wind took hold of it and blew it out of one of the bags. I chased it across the parking lot, but it climbed higher and higher. It twirled through the air just like that white feather in the movie Forrest Gump.
And, then it jumped Northwest Expressway and landed in a tree.
I thought of last week’s deadly tornadoes and all that was carried away and all that we will never hold again.
I suddenly felt connected to the wind. Connected to all the things I can’t control. Things, people slip through our hands so easily. When we aren’t looking or even when we are. It’s so exhausting to be intentional about every moment of our lives. I wonder, is this how I have to live?
I said to my daughter, wouldn’t it be cool if I could get the receipt out of the tree? It’d make a great story. I’d tell it to the wind. Hey, you air flow – don’t be pushing me around.
There’s a line in Forrest Gump:
“I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it’s both.”
The white feather that floats through the opening scene of the movie is symbolic of the events in our lives we can’t control. These circumstances make us who we are.
The parent who will not accept us,
and the lover who moved on.
The brother who disappeared
and the daughter who never calls home.
The cure that came a decade too late,
and the wars into which we were born.
The summer break that did not come soon enough.
The feather can land anywhere. Our lives, our futures are unpredictable, but not our destiny. Mangled cars, collapsed walls and crushed neighborhoods cannot stifle it. Fields of debris cannot bury it. Death cannot abbreviate it. Our destiny is the effect we have on our world. It is in the simplest of terms how we choose to live our lives.
Oklahoma Tornado Pictures
This post originally aired as a commentary on KOSU Radio, May 28, 2013.