I recently read that “Forrest Gump” has celebrated its 20th anniversary. The article wanted me to read all the quotes making the movie something great. I don’t need their help. We all know them, the simple wisdom of a simple man who had found a way to make our humanity the most profound thing about us. He told our truth, and he told it in a way that even the highest minded philosopher could endorse. It’s hard to pick just one isn’t it? Picking your favorite quote is like choosing among the greatest of dishes in an exquisite little eatery: fresh peaches or fresh tomatoes, my friend? Macaroni and cheese or fried okra, comrade? Fried chicken or roast beef, honey? Biscuits or cornbread, darling? Good grief make the madness stop! It all depends on who you are and where you are.
Just to say I haven’t grown rusty in my endeavor to remember one of my lifetime’s movie classics, I pulled out the DVD for another look today. My favorite quote still belongs to Benjamin Bedford Blue– Bubba. It’s not the various types of shrimp dishes he has knowledge of, although just recently one of my “best good friends” has indeed decided to list off all the types of southern salads she can make:”tuna salad, fruit salad, shrimp salad, chicken salad, crab salad, pear salad, green salad, pea salad, grape salad, bean salad…..” and this always calls for snort laughter out of my group of friends. Nor is it my best Fred’s line when we were forced to sleep in a particularly scary hotel room (yes my best friend is indeed a female Fred, that’s on purpose— a simple “friend” would be too vanilla, you understand). “Hey Forrest?…..I’m gonna lean up against you and you lean right back against me, that way we ain’t got to sleep with our heads in the mud. You know what makes us a good partnership Forrest? Because we lookin’ out for each other like brothers and stuff.” This theory of sleeping leaning up against each other works well when you just can’t seem to lay your head on the pillow of an all you afford– mid grade(perhaps lower, it was a dark time– don’t judge me) hotel. War is war, even in my little life.
Nope, the best for me and perhaps for many others is when Bubba looks into the eyes of his rescuer, his “best good friend,” his Fred, after Forrest has searched long and hard for him under the worst of circumstances and in his last breath, in pain, yet claiming all is okay, is Bubba simply saying, “I wanna go home.” That’s it. And I doubt I am the only one who sits in this sentiment and finds it just raw and hard and an ultimate truth.
I want to go home. I’ve said it a million times, elementary camp, my cousin’s house; longing for my Grandma Hall, in junior high dances when no boy would dance with me, at high school sleep overs when I couldn’t seem to find a best friend, the college camp out; when frankly the weather and food was awful, the friendless days that plagued me after a new job and a new city, sometimes even at 11:00am on Sunday when I couldn’t find my church family, and even when– even when, I sat with people I love and still needed my own space because depression sang so loud. If you dare tell me you haven’t called out these words, then I have to call you a liar. We all want to go home. And sometimes it’s a home you’ve never even known, but once having arrived, you have no doubt it’s yours. A poem rings out, the heart’s truth saying you are at the place meant for you; just don’t stop. Home overwhelms. Thank God, home overwhelms.
I wish for us all a home. I hope we sit there before looking into our best friend’s (or Fred’s) eyes and making a plea, a final wish to get us where we belong. I hope all our homes come with the simplicity of knowing a kindness that will rescue us from harm. Because sometimes its just that easy….a simple kindness.
And isn’t it too often that we are rescued by a kindness that brings us out of places of deepest pain? Those folks doing the toting, they don’t even know it, but they took the steps for us in getting us home. I have found that sometimes and often times, these folks don’t even know the hardship they are carrying. They simply tote. With the greatness of finesse they tote, and don’t even grow weary. Long live those who simply want to celebrate us home, and may we sing the songs of our people, who forevermore, just want us home…….with them.
They will rescue us.
They will welcome us home.
They will be there waiting.
And they will wait as long as it takes.