The Tug of War In Changing Direction

In the movie Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan Taylor is a soldier in the military who has his destiny planned out and knows he wants to die in the battlefield laid with his body stretched across the dirt with his legacy intact. In the heat of battle in Vietnam, Lt. Dan is rescued by Forrest and sees his familiar direction change without any notice. After going through shock, coping with the loss of his legs, and blaming God he comes to peace with the fact he cannot walk and accepts the truth.

As Forrest becomes famous and wealthy, Lt. Dan changes directions and makes a promise to Forrest to become his right-hand man on the shrimp boat named Jenny. Before the adventure begins, he laughs at Forrest and says, “The day you become a captain of a shrimp boat I will be an astronaut.”

I shared all that background to say this: At the end of the movie Forrest is about to wed the love of his life Jenny and Lt. Dan shows up at the ceremony. Forrest cannot believe his eyes when he sees Lt. Dan standing with a cane. Forrest says, “You got new legs, new legs.” Lt. Dan raises his pant leg, taps his metal leg and tells Forrest it is titanium alloy, the same metal used on the space shuttle that carries the astronauts.

Even though Lt. Dan in a sarcastic manner mentioned he was going to be an astronaut, at the end of the movie he became a part of something he thought was unreachable.

Sometimes in doubt, we say things and laugh at the impossibility of becoming something we are currently not. We almost try to mock destiny just to prove it wrong. However, what if we instead of playing tug of war with life just let go of the rope? Yes, we might fall temporarily, but when we stand with our newly found legs we might be able to walk in a different direction we could not have traveled before.

In order to get to where we are headed, sometimes we have to take detours that will take us in a whole new direction and before you know it we will find happiness if we keep on walking.

This is exactly what actor Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan character) did after the tragic day of 911. He was touched not only by the role he played in the movie but the US soldiers who risked their lives for our freedom impacted him. He now plays at least 50 shows a year with his band called the Lieutenant Dan band for military bases and hospitals. He is also the founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation who helps many veterans, defenders, and first responders.

Even though you might have setbacks, there is a sense of hope that will help you change directions. It is up to you come to peace with the situation you are battling, let go, and start walking in a new direction.

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