April 8, 2021

The Revenant & The Wild Inside Us

Traveling this past week was I able to watch the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Revenant for the first time. The story of frontiersman surviving a bear attack to exact revenge on the man who murders his son, it is truly epic. It is one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. While obviously Hollywoodized, it is based on the true story of Hugh Glass.

I couldn’t help but think about a podcast I did a few weeks ago on Henry David Thoreau’s essay “The Wild”. At the core of our nature, we are wild.

As Glass struggles to heal and survive abandoned in the wilderness after the bear attack, the screen jumps with life. Crawling through the dirt, escaping to snow caves, eating raw meat, fighting the French, the English, and Indians, he body surfs rapids and ultimately triumphs in a fierce and brutal showdown with his enemy. The entire time, life bursts from the action. Life, in its rawest sense.

Then I left that world of brutal truth as we arrived at the airport, and I was bombarded with the sniveling gossip and woke news of modern media and TV. If we ever descend into the wilderness for even a short term, watching the fragile egos of modern society will be quite a sight. And no doubt, savage, as the selfish consumers of matrix technology turn on themselves and others.

This past weekend, after the crew who filmed my wife and I’s interview on our love story were finished, they commented, "All your kids seem so happy. We’ve never seen that before." I credit wildness! As hard as it may be, and as much as it seems like wrestling against forces of nature at times, we’ve allowed them to explore, to wander, to dream, to learn from falls and scrapes, to see the truth in trees, and streams, and creation.

Don’t be afraid to be a little dangerous, maybe a bit reckless. Definitely get dirty. Enter the forest with nothing and feel what it is like to survive. You may never feel more alive.

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