Posted by Mary Beth Dahl on December 10, 2012
–a term to describe a virtual storage area.
–a manufactured terminal condition used to convince Joe (in Joe VS the Volcano) to throw himself into a volcano.
–a stimulus for change.
Joe VS the Volcano is a classic, and happens to be my favorite Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie of all time. In the movie, poor Joe is living a sad, unhappy reality. His life is monotonous with no end in sight, and he’s too scared to break the cycle. Instead, he is convinced that he has some sickness, and that’s why his life just isn’t turning out the way he had wanted. When he’s told he has a terminal illness, a brain cloud, he swallows the lie, and it becomes the stimulus for change to his miserable existence. He decides to use his last few months to become a hero, to throw himself into a volcano and save an entire island of natives.
An Excuse to Change
There’s no such thing as a medical condition called a brain cloud. But Joe believed it. Why did he believe it? Because he could never believe in himself. He couldn’t see his ability to change anything in his sad existence. Everything was done to him, and now he was stuck, hating life and wanting to escape. The brain cloud was his excuse to cash in his chips and do something with his life.
The Gift of the Brain Cloud
At first I thought the brain cloud was a bad thing. That mean doctor lied to him and they were using poor Joe to keep the natives placated. But now I think it was a gift. I see it as his stimulus for change. In writing, we call it the inciting incident. It’s what sets him on his journey.
Now I have a problem with a lie being the start of anything good. But maybe it wasn’t so much of a lie. We’re all terminal, aren’t we? To think that I’ll start living my life in a few years or to continue feeling sorry for myself and hating where I am is to not realize the thrill of really living. We can’t put life off forever. There’s only one road that’s paved with good intentions.
Thrown into the Volcano of Life
Really living requires us to cash in our chips every day and live for more than just ourselves. It requires us to learn from pain and loss. It requires us to buy cool luggage that floats, and it requires us to step up and throw ourselves into the volcano of life, discovering who we really are when everything else is stripped away. And once that’s discovered, then we’re spat back out to realize we didn’t have a brain cloud after all. We just needed a push to get us out of the monotony.
What’s You’re Brain Cloud?
I was feeling glum again today. Maybe it was because I had trouble sleeping last night or that I’ve got a busy week ahead of me, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t shake it. I prayed. I sat and stared out the window. I turned up the music. Nothing was working. It wasn’t until I was driving to my second job that the thought crossed my mind that I could maybe learn something from this bout of glumness. That made me smile. It made me smile to think that something that didn’t seem so great could actually be useful to me. And this is the mystery, that somehow the bad stuff in life is used for our good. There’s someone behind that, you know. He is love, and the author and perfecter of faith.