In 2004, my best friend and I went to Key West for New Year's Eve. We drove the whole way, seventeen hours down Florida and seventeen hours up. Near the end we were just about done and still had to live together as roommates. I thought about that while watching I'll Push You.
This documentary tells the story of two men, Patrick and Justin, and their hike on the Spanish pilgrimage trail of El Camino de Santiago. What makes this special is Justin, wheelchair bound and totally dependent on Patrick during the journey. We watch as the two cross the Spanish countryside with help from friends.
That's the bulk of the story. One guy laying there, the other struggling to walk and push and pull and get his friend where he wants to go. We learn about Justin's degenerative condition. and Patrick's utter devotion to his lifelong friend. The story becomes one of hope for humanity, a call to go out and help others by giving the extra mile. To realize that humanity is one thing, not seven billion separate lives struggling.
At the end, I revisited my friendship with my oldest buddy. We've known each other since I was four and he was five and I poked my head under a fence to see what all the noise was and who my neighbor was playing with. Over thirty-four years of knowing each other, facing tragedy and heartache, supporting one another. Would I push him across mountains and through mud and down slopes until I bled?
Hell no. And he'd do the same for me. But we'd laugh about it.