Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Overanalyzing the Polar Express

I have a sore throat.

So, I just made some chicken soup and found myself curled up in front of the ABC Family Christmas movie of the night: The Polar Express.

Am I the only one, or does anyone else ever feel like the kid in the Polar Express who is running around on the top of the train in the freezing cold, having run-ins with a hobo who fills your mind with questions and doubts, chasing after golden tickets that actually belong to someone else that you accidentally lost, jumping between train cars, delivering cups of hot chocolate, singing cheesy songs and looking at the northern lights -- oh, and nearly dying several times? And then, just for a moment, you go back to the regular coach full of the all other kids who are completely oblivious to the danger and complexity of the journey, who are just enjoying the ride and looking forward to the destination?

I mean, who are those kids, just hanging out in the coach car, sipping their hot chocolate and looking placidly out the window -- while for others, the entire journey is a mighty wrestle within themselves for the meaning of everything? Do I envy those kids in the coach? Pity them?

I can think of real-life counterparts to those kids. But now I'm asking myself, if I really got to know them, would I realize they are all fighting top-of-the-train battles of their own? Is it the human condition to have to struggle through things, to face challenges -- or are there people who really do just get to ride in the coach?

"One thing about trains: It doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on."
-- Conductor, The Polar Express


Cherie said...

Honestly, the movie sort-of freaks me out. I love the book, but I think it's because Tom Hanks is EVERYWHERE in that movie

Whitney said...

My thought is that I think it is probably a lot more equal than we realize. What I struggle with my seem minor to you, but it may be huge to me. I think a lot of times we do not see the struggle those around us have. I would have to say that out of all of the people I have met in my life, there has been absolutely NO ONE who has not had some issue, heart ache, struggle, or adversity.

However, I am sure there are those who do not necessarily have as many "struggles" in life, but that may be due to several things: perhaps their obedience and progression in the pre-earth life AND/OR a specific assignment they may have been foreordained to do that they would not be able to accomplish if bogged down with the troubles of the world.

As for me, I know I have a lot of progression to make in this life, so I expect to continue to face little (and big) challenges along the way. Bring on the adversity! (Oh heavens--I don't know if I really mean that--yes I know I need to be shaped, molded, and bettered by trails--do I really WANT them though?)

Really, my thoughts are endless on this subject. This post is a good reminder to me of why I absolutely LOVED being your roommate--YOU PROVOKE GREAT THINKING!!!! I love it! I thrive on things that lead me to ponder!

Allison said...

Ha -- Tom Hanks IS everywhere in that movie!

And yeah -- nobody gets a free ride -- it wouldn't make sense. But sometimes, I try to explain something like what I wrote in this post, the idea of life being a crazy adventure with all these challenges, and I just get blank stares from someone who then changes the topic back to the newest funny youtube video or the next thing they want to buy. But I guess that could just be different communication styles or levels of self-awareness or comfortability talking about personal struggles.

I also talked to a couple friends about this the other night, and also came to the realization that there aren't just the two choices -- near-death experiences vs. free rides -- and that we can go through phases of life that are wrenching and complex, and other times that are less so. I guess having spent the last year running around on top of the train, I quickly identified first with that.