Russell and Duenes

Into the Wild

with one comment

intothewildLest we forget how fragile we are – Sting

It’s been a long time coming, but recently my wife and I finally watched Into the Wild. I thought it was a superbly acted film, with compelling characters and drama. Of the many thoughts the film stirred, the one that has stayed with me is how utterly fragile and small we are. When we see Chris McCandless beginning his journey into the Alaskan wilderness, there is the haunting realization that he isn’t going to make it very far or very long. Early American pioneers seeking to make their fortunes in the West encountered conditions similar to those in Alaska . . . in groups and traveling parties, and still they were decimated by the wilderness of the Rockies or the Sierras. Perhaps McCandless himself had a foreboding sense of his own mortality, I don’t know. But in our technologically advanced age, we like to think we have largely tamed the “power of nature,” and have achieved a kind of mastery over it.

And I think it was for this reason that the film was so unnerving, at least to me. It reminded me of the fragility of my own life, even here in a modern urban city with all its accoutrements. It reminded me of how often I overestimate my “control” over the things necessary to sustain my life, and over the things that might threaten it. It reminded me that at every stage of my existence, I have been sustained largely by the efforts of others – family, friends and even strangers. It also reminded me that my life is brief, and that if the nations of the world stand “as nothing and less than nothing” before God, then how do I stand as a mere individual?

Indeed, I am truly only sustained each day at the pleasure and mercy of God. “Even youths grow tired and weary; young men stumble and fall.” (Isaiah 40:30). “You return man to the dust and say, ‘Return, O children of man.'” (Psalm 90:3). “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.” (Psalm 33:16-17). “See now that I, even I am He, and there is no god besides Me. I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39).



Written by Michael Duenes

March 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm

One Response

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  1. D-
    I saw this movie a few years ago and felt the same way. I think Hal Holbrook should have been nominated for an academy award for this movie. You should also check out Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack to the movie to (also entitled “Into the Wild”). It is quite good.

    russell and duenes

    May 16, 2013 at 7:45 am

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