“Life is beautiful…”

Life is a complex mixture of experiences, emotions, happenings, joys, loss, surprises, the mundane, difficulties, mountains and valleys. In the world I find myself a part of, it is my responsibility to decide how I will respond to what life brings my way. I’m learning the value of saying “yes” to whatever comes instead of resisting or fighting against those things which I find uncomfortable or cause me to fear. There is great power in looking at each new situation with fresh eyes and embracing it as an opportunity for personal growth rather than allowing it to be a source of irritation or anxiety. This is bringing a newfound sense of freedom into my life and it is beautiful! My life is much richer and I wouldn’t exchange any of it for what I now know and experience.

As Susan Jeffers says, “…those who are living rich lives wouldn’t change them for a moment. They delight in the opportunity to taste all that life has to offer – the good and the bad.”[i] She relates the example of Viktor Frankl who endured life in a concentration camp and how he exercised his power to choose what attitude he would adopt toward his circumstances. He knew this was the secret to bring deeper meaning into his life.

I immediately thought of one of my favorite movies, “Life is Beautiful”. Winner of many awards, including 3 Academy Awards, this Italian film is an amazing portrayal of love, hope, and the fight to survive amidst the Holocaust of WWII. Guido, a charming, imaginative and witty man, wins the heart of a beautiful young woman, Dora, with his many antics and quick-thinking sense of humor. These same qualities enable him to save the lives of his wife and small son during their time in a German concentration camp. Against the backdrop of mean-spirited armed guards, cramped barracks, the disparity between captors and captives, long lines of despairing deportees, and the reality of the gas chambers, one man succeeds in creating a fantasy that secures his son’s survival. Although on opposite sides of the camp from his wife, he finds creative ways of assuring her that he and his son are still alive.

One of the most poignant scenes that illustrate his remarkable positivity opens as he and his son, Joshua, line up to board the cattle train. Knowing in his mind what is about to happen he begins creating a different reality for his son. His jovial and animated demeanor is priceless.

“What time is it? We’re leaving right on time. What organization! You’ve never taken a train, huh?”

“No, is it nice?”

“It’s really nice! It’s all wooden inside. Everybody stands up. There’s not one seat.”

“There aren’t any seats?”

“What? Seats on a train? It’s obvious you’ve never been on one! No, everybody stands really close together. Do you see this line? I got the last tickets just in time! Hurry up, Uncle Eliseo. I don’t want them to say, ‘Too late. It’s full. Go back home.’ Wait up! We’ve got a reservation! Leave some room for us!”

Scene from Life is Beautiful

Source

 

Later, he sets up the fantasy that ultimately saves his son:

“It’s the game where we’re all players. It’s all organized…They give us our schedule. It’s hard, you know. It’s not easy. If somebody makes a mistake they get sent right home. That means you have to be very careful. But, if you win, you get first prize!”

“What’s the prize?”

“It’s a tank!”

“I already have one.”

“This one’s a real tank! Brand new!”[ii]

The message of this film transcends the immediate setting, horrific as it was, to our everyday lives. Wherever we find ourselves, there is a choice. I can choose to let my situation keep me in a state of fear, sadness, irritation, despair, confusion, or loneliness. Conversely, I can choose to love my life for what it is. I can learn, grow, try new things, face my fears head-on, consciously view things from a different perspective, and when bad things happen – I know from past experience that I will get through it and I will move forward.

As a believer and follower of Christ, I am assured that nothing comes into my life but what has been lovingly sifted through the fingers of my Heavenly Father. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 7:14, “When things are going well for you, be glad, and when trouble comes, just remember: God sends both happiness and trouble; you never know what is going to happen next.” (GNT)

God wants us to not only live life, but live it to the full! (John 10:10)

Until next time,

Kathy



[i] Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers, 1987, 2007, Ballantine Books, Random House, Inc., New York, pg 149

[ii] “Life is Beautiful”, Miramax Films, 1997

May 27, 2013 - 9:50 am

Inspire Me Heather - What a beautiful post Tanya. I must see that movie too, and soon!

May 27, 2013 - 10:39 am

Anne@DesignDreams - I’ve been meaning to watch that movie but forget the title every time I have time to watch tv! Thanks for the reminder :)

Happy Monday!

May 27, 2013 - 11:27 am

Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... - Life is beautiful… thank you for the reminder that a slight readjustment in our thinking can alter the course of the day from negative to positive… Wishing you a very wonderful & beautiful day!

May 30, 2013 - 12:53 am

Heather - A beautiful post indeed. And a poignant reminder that yes, we do have a choice!

May 30, 2013 - 12:46 pm

Karen@NourishWithKaren - Thank you for the lovely post, your inspiration is appreciated as there have been have been some trying health issues in our house recently! Love the photos too!

May 30, 2013 - 2:43 pm

Samara Bressette-Lay - This was not only a beautiful post, but one in which I needed to read today. If I had a penny for every time the Lord spoke to me and made me see things when I needed to, I would be rich!
Today is a very hard day for me as it is my son’s 13th birthday party. However, instead of celebrating it with him, I am left with just an imagination of how the day would play. He was taken from me 4 years ago and has been missing. I needed these words to help me realize I can either just hide away under the blankets today or embrace the day with my daughters and know the Lord is with me and my son today. Thank you!

May 31, 2013 - 9:24 am

Tia - A favorite movie of mine as well! Bicycle thief is another great Italian film, if you haven’t already seen it.

June 1, 2013 - 12:57 am

Dani @ lifeovereasy - I love your thought of saying “yes’ to what life brings you. Saying ‘yes’ feels so much more positive than just accepting what comes your way. Great perspective.

June 1, 2013 - 4:23 pm

take 5 with Kathy - Thank you each for your kind comments. I’m glad that it was an encouragement. Karen and Samara my heart and prayers are with you especially! It is so hard to understand why God allows such heartache to happen, but it helps to keep in mind He is always present with us and our loved ones.

June 2, 2013 - 6:55 pm

MyDirt - Oh of my all time favorite movies. Great post.

June 2, 2013 - 11:22 pm

Tazim - I find this post very inspiring. This movie really spoke to me and made me realize the choice we all have.

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