Envious of a dead man

I’m a little more than halfway through Into the Wild.  I started the book fully aware that this is a true story of a boy who died in the woods.  And yet I find myself constantly surprised that this fearless young man is gone.  His personality is so much bigger than his own body could contain, and there are so many hearts broken in the wake of his passing.  A senseless death, and yet the force behind his choices is admirable.  I keep finding myself at odds with my own feelings about this story.  Part of me feels emboldened and envious of his freedom and fearlessness.  But another part of me feels deeply annoyed and irritated with the lack of regard he showed to the people who loved him.  For every person you connect with and who will mourn your passing, don’t you owe them something?  Shouldn’t you make choices that balance the person you are, and the truth you live by with a consideration for the people who live in your world?  No one can own your soul, but if you have laid claim to a heart, it is your duty to care for it gently.Granted, he did not intend to die.  He was in such love with life & being alive, and it seems like he equated backing down from a challenge as a personal failure.  Whether that challenge be his classes at school, or navigating a river.  I can’t say for sure, but just from looking at the choices he made there was a slightly bulletproof air about him.  Such a beautifully intense person who drew his own lines and conclusions but lived and eventually died too soon with the choices he made.

And at this very moment, after reading more about the kind of person Chris was… I think he would be mortified that his story bears the “Now a Major Motion Picture” stamp across its cover.  It feels like a betrayal.  I honestly can’t picture him penning, let alone publishing, his memoirs if he had made it out alive.  And yet I am thankful for the book that shares his story.

I think it is that conflict that we can relate to.  Life is complicated and messy.  It takes time to realize what relationships influences us, why, and to what degree they should both positively and negatively.

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