Tom Hanks said it was, as Forrest Gump. The character he portrayed was slow-witted, had a good heart, and a single-minded focus. His guide for life consisted of life lessons his mama had told him. One of those nuggets was, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”.

My experience with any box of chocolates was far more disappointing than my life was. Those morsels look so inviting! Peering at one, you’re sure they’re little paper cups of yummy goodness. All certainly look delectable, making one’s mouth water. We expect it to send our taste buds into ecstasy.

I tried a few boxes in my youth, and they never failed to disappoint. I became convinced the makers were perpetrating some great hoax on the unsuspecting public. I put it to you this way – were you ever conversing with someone who went on and on, raving about how tasty a box of chocolates was? I don’t think so.

Now, don’t think you’re listening to someone who doesn’t like candy, particularly chocolate candy. I love chocolate. The only one I remember not caring for was peanut butter cups. The chocolate part was okay, but the peanut butter didn’t go with it, as far as I was concerned. Yet, of all the boxed chocolates I’ve tasted, I’ve found none worth paying for again. Why couldn’t they put in pieces of Snickers, Mars Bars, Heath, Almond Joy, Butterfinger, or any of the myriad of normal candies offered to us peasants in the candy aisle of any grocery or convenience store? Instead, like Forrest Gump said, “…You never know what you’re gonna get.”

My wife tells me that each morsel in the box is subtly marked on top as to what you will find inside each piece. She says that a few makers put a printed guide in the box lid. It’s like trying to read Egyptian hieroglyphics, though, if you don’t have the Rosetta Stone of Chocolate handy. There are subtle swirls and squiggles I thought were just decorations all along. She cannot even remember the code and hates biting into something that looks so delicious, only to discover she’s wrong.

I’m very happy my life didn’t turn out based on my experience with boxes of chocolate. Instead, in addition to my upbeat attitude, I’ve run across a number of maps and guides to life that’ve made it an adventure in learning, growing, and experiencing wonderful things. Unlike any box of chocolates without a guide of what you might be popping in your mouth, I was able to observe and understand much of the time what was ahead before leaping, then could make an informed choice before diving in head first. I was never disappointed in the road traveled or my grand experiences. Yes, there were bumps in the road now and then, but they were just challenges to overcome. The challenge is what keeps life interesting. For me, a life without a few rocks to kick from my path wouldn’t be worth traveling.

Forrest Gump must have been able to find great chocolates. His life seemed to be a series of obstacles he blew right through, always coming out the winner on the other side. He was successful because he followed a simple plan – do what Mama said, and Jenny too, when she said, “Run Forrest! Run!”

I wish you a life of slaying your dragons and winning the castle of your dreams – and may all your chocolates be tasty!

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