“Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever. You just have to live.” – From “Tuck Everlasting”
It’s so eerie sometimes when life lessons converge in a serendipitous way – the latest case in point was my recent participation in the tribute to 9/11 victims crossing paths with my wife getting a suggestion from a friend to rent and watch the movie “Tuck Everlasting“.
For those who have not seen the movie, “Tuck Everlasting” was based on a Children’s novel by Natalie Babbitt, and is about the Tucks, a family who drank from a magic spring and became immortal. The life lesson comes from the choice that a young girl (Winnie) has when she discovers the Tuck’s secret – do we want to live forever?
While the movie had been recommended to my wife for reasons entirely different than the upcoming 9/11 anniversary, as I started to watch this film all the “tough” questions about life and living that came up during my research on and posting of my tribute to Thomas Swift were swirling in my head. Then I heard this quote from the movie, spoken by one of the “immortals” to Winnie:
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people, many will do anything, anything not to die. And they’ll do anything to keep from living their life……Don’t be afraid of death, Winnie. Be afraid of the unlived life.”
There it was, right there in what was really targeted at young children – my “Zen” moment. Our destinies are unknown, but our mortality is – it’s only a question of when. For some, like Thomas Swift, it can come too soon and so tragically, but while we’re here we “just have to live“, for whatever time we have.
Obvious? Yes. But there are times when we sorely need to be reminded (or re-enlightened) that really LIVING takes courage and intent (as Christine Kane often tells us, like in her wonderful post about 9/11) , as well as an appreciation for the “act of living” itself. And this was a good time.
So, what did Winnie do? Did she choose to live forever? Rent this movie or read the book and find out – I think you just may get your “Zen” out of it too.
PS: Remember the quote in my Sunday Papers post ? It was Franklin Roosevelt, at his first inaugural in 1933. Still works today, doesn’t it?