I could not get into the book.
However, I loved the movie. This weekend I watched Ang Lee’s brilliant adaptation of Yann Martel’s book, “Life of Pi.” It was everything I love in a film: it took me to a faraway place, it had a twist in the end and it presented the world as a mystical place where God and nature can take the human person on an amazing journey. Pi is a young Indian boy whose family owns and operates a zoo. They are transporting the animals across the Pacific Ocean when the ship flounders in a storm. The young man finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Pi is afraid of the beast but will not destroy him for fear of being completely alone in the middle of the vast and treacherous ocean. This preposterous circumstance is fraught with danger for Pi, but at one stage in the story he acknowledges his fear of the tiger is good for it keeps him alert as the boat drifts endlessly across the sea.
I keep thinking about this idea that fear may have value. We are always trying to rid ourselves of apprehension and stress. I for one am always preaching the consistent directive from Jesus to “be not afraid.” But what if fear has some value? Is dread not at the root of our inclination to stay away from dangerous hallucinatory drugs? Fright of being pulled over by law enforcement motivates us to drive automobiles safely. Distress at the prospect of displeasing God can inspire us to avoid sinful actions. Don’t misunderstand me; I am not advocating a spirituality or even a lifestyle rooted in anxiety, rather if fear is inevitable, why not use it to our advantage?
When we recognize the familiar sensation of worry about our money, health, family I wonder if it is possible to allow the energy of fright to heighten our senses, engage our ingenuity, and activate creative solutions? In the same way that a person summons superhuman powers in an emergency, could our fear be a bridge to a solution? I suppose I am suggesting we make friends with the entirety of our personalities. Rather than running, denying or hiding – to accept that anxiety is a natural part of our survival. Perhaps we are meant to learn that healthy fear might be the very thing that saves us – like being with a tiger in a lifeboat waiting to be saved.“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave, ‘his father told him.” George R. R. Martin Game of Thrones