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Jewish Journal

Finding God in ‘Life of Pi’

by Ilana Angel

November 26, 2012 | 7:51 am

I saw Life of Pi this weekend and I loved it.  It was visually stunning and just so pretty I felt like I was staring at it in awe as much as I was watching it. I saw it in 3D, and while it was great, it is not required in order to love this movie, so if you have a chance to see it and 3D is not an option, go anyway.

I connected with this film in a truly profound way.  I am a woman of faith and I am always searching for spiritual guidance, and so because of my own journey I was able to see things in this story that brought me comfort. Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stop reading now.

Pi was on a journey to find faith and he was guided by his desire to find answers.  When the journalist came to visit Pi in Montreal, he said he was told Pi’s story would show him God.  For me, Richard Parker was God, and I wonder if anyone else interpreted the story in the same way.

When Pi explained the role Richard Parker had in terms of his 227 days at sea, it was very clear to me.  Having the tiger on the boat with him is what saved him.  Richard Parker forced him to be alert, think, feel, plan, and ultimately survive.  Without saying a word, the tiger guided him.

Pi was tormented by Richard Parker walking into the jungle and not looking back to acknowledge him.  A glance would have been a thank you, or a goodbye, and without having been able to say goodbye to his family, it was a crushing blow to have someone so important leave without closure.

For me, Richard Parker did not turn around because he didn’t need to.  God does not ever say goodbye.  If he is always with us, then goodbye is not important.  He left Pi then because he had done what he needed to do.  He helped Pi reach safety and that was why he was there.

Richard Parker did not walk away from him, he simply entered into his heart and waited for Pi to see him.  It took him time of course, but upon rest and reflection, he was able to see that Richard Parker was God and he brought him to peace and safety.  That message was crystal clear to me.

I am able to see God if I look.  There are days I want to see him and days I really, really need to see him.  It is only when I stop to be quiet for a moment, that I am able to connect with him.  It was reflection that brought Pi to God and the gift of reflection is one we give to ourselves.

Did I see God in Richard Parker because I needed to?  Life of Pi was my Richard Parker.  I saw things in a way that brought me comfort and made me smile from the inside out.  This movie brought me joy in a way I am unable to properly articulate but I know people will understand.

I had a wonderful weekend.  I had important and meaningful conversations with my son, enjoyed time with my Englishman’s daughters, saw my mother’s face and was able to look in her eyes when I told her I loved her, and felt safe and warm in the arms of the man I love.

I worry about a lot of things.  I worry about my son, my family, money, work, health, and faith.  I worry about it all and in the end if I am simply quiet, and allow myself to reach out to God, he will guide me.  Life of Pi is a remarkable film and I left grateful and dedicated, to keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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