Take a lesson from Castaway, keep moving forward

Luke Eide Columnist

“I was never going to get off that island. I was going to die there, totally alone. I was going to get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So, I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I, I couldn’t even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over nothing! And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and it gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back, in Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass and I’ve lost her all over again. I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly, but I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing, because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

The quote above comes from the end of the movie, Castaway, when Chuck Noland is back in Memphis, Tenn., talking to his best friend from work, whom he hadn’t seen in ages due to a tragic plane crash. This crash eventually floated him to a desolate island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and left him as a castaway for four  years. 

Chuck not only needed to learn how to survive, but also how to make it back to the States to live out the rest of his life with happiness and hope.  But being stranded on an island makes any chance of hope or happiness slim to none.  Chuck faced hardships, physical and emotional pain, weather, tidal waves and perhaps the worst aspect, loneliness.

Loneliness entered his heart.  On the night before the crash, Chuck was about to propose to his girlfriend, Kelly. What makes the story so powerful is that Chuck’s terrible misfortunes didn’t end when he returned, they continued when he discovered Kelly was already married and had a child.  He was amazed at how wasteful people were about food and other things he had to fight for on the island, which were taken for granted at his welcome home party.

The fight for survival, a broken heart and no reason to hope are all aspects that we as human beings must face in a lifetime. Hopes and dreams are not achieved just like that.  Hopes and dreams are both goals in my opinion giving us a reason to wake up every morning.

I may not be the greatest advice giver when it comes to hardship, loneliness or tragedy because to be honest, I haven’t had much experience dealing with those aspects of life.  I am forever thankful and owe that blessing to God.  It shouldn’t be the tragic parts of life that overpower us and make us not want live.  It should be the gifts and the happy moments in life that put smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts.

Right now, between the blizzards taking the lives of thousands of livestock West River, and the amount of marital, financial and loneliness problems out there in the world, it makes life hard and in some circumstances unbearable to stand.

I’m not a psychiatrist but I can tell all of you there is still a reason to hope, there is still a reason to smile and there is still a reason to keep fighting through the battles that are faced on a once in a lifetime, yearly and even a daily basis.  There is still a reason to keep moving forward and to keep breathing.

If you feel that you have power over nothing and if there is absolutely no more hope, no more reason to wake up and see the vast world around you, just keep on breathing.  Because tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the world will have in store for you.


Luke Eide is majoring in agricultural business. He can be reached at [email protected]