Just a Quick Thought…

I just thought I’d make a quick post about a thought I had while watching It’s a Wonderful Life.” The message that the movie carries is really quite foreign to modern audiences isn’t it? Here you have George Bailey, a man who all his life has wanted to travel the world and do big, important things. And yet life, and his own conscience keep him in his hometown of Bedford Falls, seemingly trapped in his average existence.

Now the modern sentiment in movies is to “follow your dreams” or “be yourself.” Can you imagine how different a movie it would have been if George had said screw you to Bedford Falls and gone on his world tour? If he had followed the advice of today’s mass media, or your average Disney TV movie he would have left to become an architect like he planned.

Instead George put his family first. He thought of others before himself and did what was right by his community. Everything in his life that he thought he would do ended up changing over time. Naturally he is bitter over this at first, but if you have seen the movie (Spoilers for a 66 year old movie!!) you know that he finds an appreciation for the life he has been blessed with, not the life he could have had. How different than the modern idea! By putting his principles and those he cared for above himself George achieved happiness equal to if not greater than he had imagined.

May we all remember to keep our priorities straight, and not be so caught up in ourselves. Though our plans for the future might not always come to pass and we can’t always get the things we think we want, we shouldn’t let regret or selfishness blind us to the wonderful life right in front of us.

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Christmas All Year

When Ebenezer Scrooge went through his ordeal and comes out a changed man, he vowed to “honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” And he succeeded, becoming a man of love, joy , and compassion. The spirit of Christmas was in his heart all the year round. How can one be like Scrooge? How can we, living in this busy, modern, and oft times cruel world keep the attitude of Christmas all year?

For me Christmas is a time for giving. Not giving just presents or sharing a meal with my family, but of giving myself to my loved ones. As I’ve grown up (and even more strongly in the last couple years), I have come to realize that those I love needs to include to those who need help or are less fortunate than me. It is this love: from one person to another without precondition, reciprocation, or even thanks, that Christmas represents.

Keeping that kind of attitude all year long can be difficult. During the fall and spring school and work take up a lot of time. When summer arrives its time for vacations and cookouts and having fun. We get so busy with our own lives that we forget that we should be giving to others all the time. What kinds of things can you give all year in order to keep your Christmas spirit alive?

  • A word of encouragement.
  • A small token of appreciation.
  • Volunteering at a local charity.
  • Treating a friend to dinner.
  • Host a party and invite your neighbors.
  • Spend time with your loved ones doing things that you both enjoy.
  • Do something unexpectedly nice for a stranger.

These examples aren’t just things you can do during Christmas, but year-round. Just like Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time you should love your spouse and Veterans Day shouldn’t be the only time you are grateful for those who have died for your freedom, so too should Christmas not be a once in a year time to give of yourself. By embracing the idea that giving should be a selfless act and keeping in mind those who you love and are in need of compassion you can truly keep the spirit of Christmas all year long.

The Sound of Gravel

I’ve always liked the sound of gravel under my feet. It reminds me of a BBC mystery, a walk on a blustery fall day, or running across a playground. But most of all, the sound of gravel has always represented for me the concept of  progression towards a goal. People who are treading slowly but surely towards their objective (or those who are running headlong towards it) can use the sound as an encouragement. With each footfall you know you are further along than you were before. With each new step you get new resolve and audible evidence of your progress.

In this ultimate journey called life, what is your “sound?” What is it that reminds you of your successes? What keeps you going and encourages you? Everyone’s sound is different and makes itself known in a different way.

It could be:

  • Your spouse or partner: Any good partner should be supportive and encouraging to you. If they are always bring you down or causing you grief maybe they aren’t relationship material.
  • Your family and friends: Like a partner, your friends and family can help guide you, give you good advice, and, if they aren’t supportive, be at the very least an example of what not  to do.
  • A lofty goal to which you aspire. These kinds of goals can inspire us to great heights and places we never thought we could go.

Whatever it is that reminds you to keep making progress, love others, and be a better person every day, be sure that it is something that you can be proud of. Don’t choose money, popularity, or stuff as your benchmark. These things when used in such a way have a tendency of eating up your life and becoming not a sound that helps you, but a thunderous din that makes you unable to grow. Find an uplifting “sound” that brings you joy and is wholesome in and of itself.

If you have found this idea of sound interesting, let me know what your thoughts are. Also if you can identify any sounds in your life that act as encouragements to you please share them!!