I just got home from watching an advanced screening of “The Way” (@theWaytheMovie) by Emilio Estevez, starring Martin Sheen. The movie, which opens this Friday, October 7, highlights the journey of Martin Sheen’s character through parts of Spain in his attempt to realize his son’s goal. His son, played by Emilio Estevez, died while beginning the journey to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela known as “The Way of St. James.” Throughout the journey, Sheen’s character is enriched by a variety of experiences and people he encounters along “The Way.”
This movie made me think about my own journey and the journey we are all on. Watching this movie might make us think we need a dramatic pilgrimage like this for it to truly deserve the designation of a “journey” but that seriously undermines our own lives. Even in the movie, it isn’t just about “The Way.” [subtle spoiler alert] The characters ultimately realize it wasn’t about what they set out to do with their respective journeys. It was about a way of life. It is about how we choose to live each day. Whether and how we appreciate the distinct experiences and people that enter and leave our lives, for better or worse.
This made me think about the journey I embarked on three and a half years ago when I left my career in pursuit of happiness. However, I must remember that my whole life has been a journey, including my original career. The question I asked myself at the end of this film was whether I have taken the time to appreciate and understand each experience and person I encountered along my “Way.”
Well, the answer is that I have not. And that’s ok. I think what is important is that we learn to appreciate and understand what we experience. Even Martin Sheen’s character “rushes” through the early part of the journey because his focus is on the destination. He’s chasing something only to realize there was no end. “The Way” keeps going. And when he realizes this he slows down and takes time to seize, appreciate, and understand each experience and person.
I will continue to do my best to seize, appreciate, and understand the moments and people in my life. This begins by doing the little things. For example, taking that phone call instead of letting it go to voicemail and simply checking it later. I’ll take that call now because like Emilio’s character, sometimes our journey is cut short and unfortunately we never know when.
How will you make the most of your current journey? What little things will you do to seize, appreciate, and understand the experiences and people in your life?