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About Happiness II

Updated: Jan 8

"Happiness Only Real When Shared"


The movie "Into the Wild" (directed by Sean Penn, 2007), which is based on a real-life story, is about a young adventurer named Christopher McCandless. After graduating with high honors from Emory University, instead of going to a grad school or finding a promising job, Christopher decided to go "into the wild." He destroyed all of his credit cards and burnt out identification documents. Also, he donated all of his savings and set out on a cross-country journey to experience life in the wilderness. The movie describes his motive to do so has something to do with his broken relationship with his parents but only he would know why he chose that path.


For a while, he was happy. One of the most memorable scenes of the movie for me is the scene of him praising an apple he found from a wild apple tree. He says, "I'm not Superman, I'm Supertramp and you're Superapple. You're so tasty, so organic, so natural. You're the apple of my eye." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5qYkWzx0rY) This scene made me want to one day travel in the woods and taste a wild apple, purely nurtured by the nature. Will it be really different from the apples we buy from a Save Mart?


I do not want to spoil the movie so I'm not going to tell you about the end of the movie, except that Christopher dies in Alaska. Please don't hate me for spoiling it but remember it is based on a real-life story and, sadly, that's what happened to him. Well, I also watched it knowing that the main character was going to die in the end. Still, however, the movie was full of surprises and inspiring stories. So, I strongly recommend you to watch it, if you're over 18. (The movie is rated R because of some nudity.)


And the highlight of the movie - I hate to spoil it again but - is when he writes "happiness only real when shared." Even though he was content with his life in the wilderness, in the end, he realized that the happiness he found was not real when there was no one to share it with.


I believe that what Christopher learned during his last days on earth was a profound truth about happiness. Happiness is not just a personal matter; it is only real when shared.

Therefore, perhaps when we say “happy new year” to each other, what we actually mean or what we should mean is something like this:


“I would like to make and share happiness with you throughout this new year and I hope you do the same with me.”



A self-taken photo of Christopher McCandless in Alaska


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