My husband and I watched a movie a few weeks ago that just won’t seem to let go of me. It’s a film called “The Way” starring Martin Sheen and written and directed by his son, Emilio Estevez. “The Way” tells the inspirational story of a man’s trek along the Camino de Santiago (also known as The Way of St. James), a collection of centuries-old pilgrimage routes across Europe.
Tom (played by Sheen) did not set out to make the pilgrimage. In fact, when his son (played by Estevez, of course) asks him to come along, he considers the weeks-long trek impractical at best.
“Most people don’t have the luxury of just leaving it all behind,” Tom says.
But then he finds that he must go. When Daniel succumbs to a fatal accident in the Pyrenees, Tom’s mission quickly becomes to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. He carries Daniel with him, sprinkling his ashes over landmarks along the 800-kilometer route.
I have to thank fellow winer Tiffany Crenshaw for making the recommendation during our Girls Weekend/Movie Marathon in February. (Although little did she know that Estevez is a man after the Inspired Winers’ hearts – a winemaker under the label Casa Dumetz.) Tiffany saw something special in the preview. Something she knew our group would appreciate because of the bonds we share – as parents, as women who value inspiration, and as friends on our own journey, a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
“The Way” has gorgeous cinematography, a beautifully composed soundtrack, and a satisfying blend of heart wrenching and amusing moments captured through the interactions of Tom and the unlikely friends he meets. (Not to mention, lots of wine drinking!) As you can imagine, a movie like this offers plenty of connections to our own lives. The metaphors abound.
This trip that once seemed absurd to Tom ultimately becomes profoundly meaningful. Can’t we all relate to resisting a journey we know we have to take? And aren’t we often pleasantly surprised by the rich experience, the camaraderie, the support we find when we open ourselves up to the journey?
I think about the trek my fellow Inspired Winer, Allison, is on right now in honor of her own son. She’s going the distance for Matthew. Fighting for his quality of life and trying to imagine what the road is like for him. Doing everything she can to lengthen the time he has to be mobile, active and healthy, as every young man should be. I also think about my walk with her. Sometimes I feel I am doing so little, that my efforts are mere footsteps compared to what lies ahead. But then I remember the value of simply “being there” to help my friend navigate, to scale the mountains and shoulder the weight when she needs a break.
That’s what Wednesday Night Wine is for. It’s a time out for tired moms and friends who might otherwise let too much time go by without seeing one another. And on a larger level, that’s what Inspired Wining is for. Helping other women navigate the challenges and opportunities of fundraising for the causes that mean the most to them. Perpetuating our own cause as Wednesday Night Winers – the fight against DMD to make the way easier for boys like Matthew.
At the end of "The Way," Tom discovers the difference between "the life we live and the life we choose.” The movie is a beautiful and touching reminder that even when we are handed challenges, like learning a child is afflicted with a very troubling disease, we can still choose our lives by the way we live them. We choose to create something positive out of the bad news. We choose to celebrate the good news. We choose our friends. We choose to have faith.
And we choose to believe in our own human ability to make the world better.