Just got done watching that wonderful movie. Wow, helps to put a lot of existential questions in perspective. Thank you, George Bailey.
If you haven’t seen this movie, and any of the musings or worries I put forward in this blog are of interest to you, you should watch it. You will see how worthy life is, that you shouldn’t defer your dreams except in service of a greater need (not to try and please others, but to fulfill your own values), and what a difference one person can make.
In so many instances in life, we have a certain picture of what happiness and fulfillment look like. Some people, like me, struggle to come up with a detailed picture, but most of us have definite ideas about the last thing we’d like to be doing. As did George bailey, who stayed in a small town when he always wanted to travel doing a business he found boring but ultimately meaningful. In his personal sacrifices, he saved all the people around him, as well as himself. He found true happiness in serving others, and though his own dreams didn’t come true, he realized values that meant more to him. And in doing what he found that the world needed, he realized that his high hopes and ambitions were fulfilled, if otherwise than he expected. he was happy, he was blissful, even if it seemed he followed duty more than bliss. But as the movie goes on, we come to see that George’s duty and his bliss, his values and his life, are indistinguishable from each other. Yes, he is the product of his circumstances, which weren’t always conducive to his dreams, but ultimately he rose above them.
I was going to write a post about expectations versus reality, and how sometimes, when happiness doesn’t look like we thought it would, we fail to recognize it. Same goes for opportunity. Somehow all the false starts and dead ends got us to where we are now, and whether we understand why or not, I do believe there is a reason. That’s not to excuse lack of effort or poor choices, but to demonstrate that we can be redeemed, and even more than gratified, exalted, in the circumstances in which we find ourselves now. We can put ourselves first without coming in last ourselves. If we let go of the trophy, we can experience the real reward.
So when it comes to love interests, careers, and pretty much everything else in life, remember that success doesn’t have to look like you thought it would. And even if you have seen success, and haven’t, despite your best efforts, attained, maybe for some reason or another, God helped you dodge a bullet without you knowing it. Jobs not won, loves lost, and trains missed come to mind. This is in no way to glorify failure or excuse lack of effort, but to point out that our own measuring sticks aren’t always adequate.
There’s no point in gaining the world if you lose your own soul, after all. So let your soul lead you to the brighter world you hadn’t even dared to imagine.