Towards the end of the Tom Hanks movie “Castaway” we see his character, Chuck Noland, sitting lifelessly on the edge of a ramshackle raft he built that was falling apart due to the harsh conditions of his ocean voyage. He held the battered oars in his hands and in his last act of personal autonomy he surrenders by gently placing them into the ocean. Yielding to his fate. To die alone, lost, in the middle of the vast, unforgiving ocean. It is a heart-wrenching scene, especially since we have not stopped crying from moments earlier when his beloved friend Wilson, the loyal volleyball, falls off his broken perch and drifts away, unable to be rescued by Hanks. For a man who had endured unspeakable hardships for years on a deserted island it seemed like an unceremonious way to go out. And then suddenly we see his shot at being rescued, by a passing freighter ship, yet he is too weak and tired to notice. Alas, a friendly, curious whale who had been accompanying Hanks throughout his sea voyage notices the ship and shoots a geyser of water on Hanks to wake him up, alert him, just when he needed it the most. The whale helps save Tom Hanks by this simple act of being present and looking out for this person in dire straits.
As we enter the 10th month of this pandemic and so many have suffered physical, emotional, and financial hardships, now is the time to Be The Whale. As so many have tired of Zoom calls and socially distanced happy hours, we need to Be The Whale. As our political frustrations have caused us to attack our friends and neighbors with differing opinions, we need to Be The Whale. And as we struggle to maintain a sense of community, family, and friendship we need to be, we must, Be The Whale!
It is at this point in time when we seem to be at our lowest, and those around us seem to be at their lowest, ready to throw in the oars and say, “I’m done trying to save this business!”, “I’m done trying to save this relationship!”, “I’m done trying to find light in this darkness!” It is incumbent on us to look at our friends, children, neighbors and Be the Whale. We must help each other push through this incredibly challenging time because one day soon, we hope, there will be a freighter ship passing us, ready to save us, and we need to be present and alert, because as Hanks’ character says at the end: “And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.”
We at Foster, Graham, Milstein & Calisher are here for you and your families just as we have been for over 20 years. We pledge to Be The Whale and keep helping you through this tough time. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, a happy new year, and a 2021 that puts a smile on all our faces! We all deserve it!