Minimizing Disappointment

15 Feb

I make the point annually to watch Jimmy Stewart’s popular holiday portrayal of George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life (required viewing in my estimation for all who work daily to make a difference in people’s lives).

In a scene in the early minutes of the presentation, angels are talking in heaven of this person, George, in their endeavor to know more about him and enter into his world to offer assistance.

disappointment2Clarence, the 2nd class level guardian angel who eventually is assigned to task, asks, “What’s the matter with George. Is he sick? Is he in trouble?” “Much worse,” is the reply, “he’s discouraged.”

George gets his wish (“I wish I’d never been born”) and eventually is led through a process of seeing the world as it would have been had he never been born. The conclusion for his circumstances is identical to others – we do make a difference and our positive actions and kind words accumulate much greater than we could ever imagine.

People indeed observe and model what they see and hear from us. It’s humbling but certain that we have an influence in the eternity of another’s soul.

We each occupy a small fraction of space in this world. We do and must make a difference in the lives of others.

Ponce de Leon went on a fruitless quest for the fountain of youth. What if he had found it? While we might enjoy a longer life, that would not solve our most serious problem. There is a fountain of spiritual youth. It is available to everyone in the word of God.

Many people have sustained themselves in times of crisis with the little slogan, “This too shall pass.” That definitely puts things in perspective. When we look at all our troubles down here, we recognize it is temporary.

Everyone I know wants both a peaceful and fulfilling life. Nevertheless, most feel that in some way life is not cooperating with their desire. Life keeps setting up barriers. The only way to get peace and fulfillment is to make the right decisions about how we are going to conduct our life. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can determine the principles by which we live.

The fact is, our life is the sum total of our decisions. Some decisions are momentous and some are trivial. Some are easy and some hard. Every day of our life is filled with decisions.

All of us are faced with choices. Written over the fundamental ones are the words whosoever chooses me must give and hazard all he has. Jesus told us that. He said “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

We can be fulfilled. Remember, the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our decisions. Fulfillment is ours for the taking. The choice is up to us.

Do decisions ever come hard to you? Are you like the man who had to fill out a job application? One question said, “Do you have trouble making decisions?” The man replied, “Well, yes and no.”

Or perhaps we’re like the wife, who struggled with knowing what to say when asked a relatively simple question. Overheard:  “Has your husband lived up to all the things he said before you were married?”

“No.  He’s only lived up to one of them.” “Which one is that?” “He said he wasn’t good enough for me.” [2]


[1] A good but slightly ineffectual man tries to off himself after an error that really wasn’t his fault. In Christmas carol fashion, his crusty-but-lovable guardian angel shows up to give him a tour of the world without his presence, and it isn’t a pretty place. Moral courage, small-town American life, civic cooperation, and family love are glorified; corporate greed and self-involvement are vilified; at the climax, a blanket of snow like spun sugar makes everything pure and clean like redemption itself.

[2] Ron Dentinger, Dodgeville, Wisconsin Chronicle; Reader’s Digest, February, 1995,  p. 59.        

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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Encouragement


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