The fantasy film, “Life of Pi,” follows the survival story of two unlikely creatures – a teenager and a tiger, lost at sea. I hear the book is better than the film and maybe so, but I’ve watched this film three times. I love it. Here’s why:
Without the tiger named Richard Parker, our protagonist Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) would not have survived 227 days alone at sea.
Without the obstacle placed before him Pi would have lost the will to live a while ago. He wouldn’t have found ingenious ways to survive, observed the various displays of God’s glory, and couldn’t have subdued a Bengal tiger.
The problem that threatened his survival in a much greater way than the mighty sea resulted in an unbelievable story – one unheard of in his world on many levels. The tiger was purposeful in Pi’s life – it was there to keep him and to bring him home. Once this mission was completed, Richard Parker sauntered off into the distance without so much as a backward glance, because his job was done.
I consider such events “mountains”. I speak of them in my writings and in person, and refer to myself as a mountain climber (well…I’m a Capricorn, it’s not too far a stretch with the zodiac sign being a mountain goat!). Obstacles are simply mountains asking to be climbed.
The view at the top is spectacular, the strength garnered from the ascent does not perish, and the run down is easier. Life is going to have its ups and downs – and sometimes, it’s going to present us with tigers. Just when we think we can barely breathe, our problem suddenly becomes small in the face of the mountain before us. If Pi thought he was in trouble lost without a sense of direction at sea, this was compounded by the growl of the tiger, signalling far greater problems to contend with than the loss of his family.
Something worked for Pi though. His initial encounter with Richard Parker. He chose to use intuition to interact with the animal. Dealing on the spiritual level allows one to perceive what is not outwardly recognizable, so that in the eyes of the formidable beast, Pi saw a connection with nature, where his father only saw his son’s hand being used as meat. This speaks to perception and attitude.
Using Richard Parker as an analogy to fear, we clearly see why it’s important to face and conquer them. When considering the number of days Pi spent in the water, the state of solitude and difficulties that lay ahead of him, I find it incredible that God chose to reveal Himself in a mighty way to this teenage boy through this experience. Pi was supposed to experience what he did, to live to tell the story. A tiger was placed smack in the middle of his mess to help attain this goal.
If you are willing, you can consider this perception as you face the tiger in your life. There is a reason it’s there. Face it. Conquer it. Live to tell your story.