I think I saw a tweet somewhere that listed the Top 5 Films to Watch on the Fourth of July. I noticed that Forrest Gump made the list, so my wife and I decided to watch a little bit of the film after we put the kids to bed (we ended up watching all of it).
Forrest Gump was an instant classic. While watching it with my wife this last time, I remarked that Robert Zemeckis must have known he was making a Best Picture before the film was even complete. The scope this film encompasses is remarkable. All of the historic events that are covered through the life of one man is amazing. The acting, the score, the soundtrack, the quotes – “Life is like a box of chocolates” – all of it, simply spelled O-S-C-A-R.
I can remember watching this film in the theater and not fully appreciating all I was experiencing – I was thirteen, after all. I really enjoyed it, but there is a lot to take in. However, something I’ve come to appreciate through the years is Forrest’s love for Jenny. For those who remember the story, Forrest falls head over heals for Jenny the first time he sits by her on the bus. After many variations of, “You can’t sit here.” He finally heard the most beautiful voice he’d ever heard tell him, “You can sit here, if you’d like.” From that point on, Jenny and Forrest were like “peas and carrots.” But, that doesn’t mean their relationship wasn’t littered with difficulty.
While Jenny was always Forrest’s girl, Jenny didn’t necessarily feel the same way about Forrest. Now, Jenny did have a rough past with an abusive father, so her hesitance to become attached to another is understandable. However, she definitely goes off the deep-end. Experimentation with drugs, a lifestyle of stripping, numerous partners, you name it and Jenny experienced it. All the while, Forrest loved Jenny.
While Jenny was trying to silence the hatred from her past with sex and drugs, Forrest continued to display love towards her. Through high school, through college, and through the military, Forrest continued to love Jenny. Forrest went to fight in the Vietnam War and wrote Jenny every day he was serving (all of those letters were later returned). It seemed like the more Forrest loved Jenny, the more she attempted to shut him out. Even when he came to her rescue from abusive lovers, she would still show frustration towards him.
There is one point in the film where Jenny has had a night of heavy drug abuse, and she finds herself on the ledge of a building. She climbs up with the obvious thought of ending her life as she sees the people several stories below her. When I first saw this film, I’m ashamed to say that I was cheering for her to end her life. Honestly, I was tired of seeing her destroy herself, I was tired of seeing her abuse Forrest’s love, in short, I was tired of all the brokenness. However, I’ve learned to see myself as Jenny.
To put it quite bluntly, I am a whore like Jenny. I am a substance abuser like Jenny. I am one who shuns the love of the only faithful Lover of my soul. While Forrest is by no means a perfect picture of a savior in this film, he does give us a glimpse of the unwavering love of Jesus Christ. Forrest never stops loving Jenny, he never stops serving Jenny, he never stops searching for Jenny, he never stops defending Jenny, he never stops protecting Jenny, and, in the end, he marries Jenny.
You may not see yourself as broken as Jenny. If that’s true, I would say you may not see how deeply you are loved by Christ. During one conversation with Jenny, Forrest states, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” I’m not the smartest man either, but I know who love is and his name is Jesus Christ.