127 Hours

Last weekend, I watched the movie 127 Hours.  (If you haven’t seen it, and are not familiar with Aron Ralston’s true story, on which the movie is based, you may not want
to keep reading as this post contains spoilers.) I knew the general story – outdoorsy
type man gets his arm lodged under a boulder while hiking by himself and subsequently cuts off said arm in order to survive.  About ten minutes into the movie, when James Franco’s arm met the boulder, knowing what was coming, I turned to my husband and said “If you’re not interested in this, go ahead and turn it off, because I am NOT going to like it.”  A friend had seen the movie while back and had mentioned in passing that she and her husband really liked it, which is why I added it to my Netflix queue in the first place.  It occurred to me in those first ten minutes that she is a nurse, and her husband a surgeon, so of course they would not have quite the same squeamishness (read: complete horror) as me, when push came to shove and that little pocket knife started looking like his only saving grace. But, for some reason, I kept watching. I’m so glad I did.

I don’t usually, or ever, take away deep meaning from movies.  I love to watch and be  entertained for a couple of hours. End of story.  But this movie, excluding the few really gruesome parts that I simply did not watch, really resonated with me.  I am not adventurous.  Actually, I’m kind of a big chicken.  I never would have set off alone
to hike Blue John Canyon.  I don’t even  like to ride my bike alone on the local bike path.  But I like to do things on my own. I don’t like to ask for help.  Maybe it’s the shame that might come with admitting I couldn’t do something on my own.  Maybe it’s that I feel bad “inconveniencing” the other person.  I don’t know. It would probably take quite a few therapy sessions to get to the bottom of that one.  Fortunately, I learned a good life lesson just watching 127 Hours.

The “aha moment” (thanks Oprah) in the movie that brought me to tears was when Aron finally made it out of his five-plus days of hell, saw some hikers up ahead, and with what little strength he had left yelled “Help me. I need help.”

This is a man who went out on an adventure alone, and didn’t tell anyone where he was going. He survived for 127 hours in physical, mental, and emotional pain. Alone. He kept himself alive drinking what little water he had and then resorted to his own pee.  He cut off his arm to escape.  All by himself.  Even when he finally encountered other people, he asked for help, but he didn’t completely surrender.  Encouraged to sit down by one of the hikers, he said he had to keep going. But without asking for and receiving the help of others, his story probably would have had a much more tragic ending.

So, the moral of the story?  It’s a really good thing I’m not adventurous.  Just kidding.  Being able to do things on your own is a good thing.  Asking for help doesn’t mean you’ve completely giving up on helping yourself.  We all just need a little bit of help sometimes.

Thanks to my good friends Beth WA and Amy for helping me by picking up my 10K race packet when I just couldn’t manage to get it done myself this week. I’m glad no limbs were lost in the process.

– Beth FS

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