Reading this book is a great way to cope with a Christmas in Kauai with the in-laws.
Watching the movie is an equally great way to cope with PVBD (post vacation boredom and depression).
Needless to say I watched the movie this past week and found myself scribbling down all the movie wisdom.
The premise is intriguing--an 83 year old man named Eddie, who spent his life doing maintenance at an amusement park called Ruby Pier, is killed while pushing a little girl out of the way of a falling carnival ride.
At the time of his death Eddie was disappointed with life. He was a soldier who was unable to get the war out of his head. He resented his abusive father and blamed him for his own wasted life being stuck as a maintenance man. And finally he lost the love of his life to early to a fatal illness.
In the after life he is told that there are five people waiting to meet him. Each will illuminate something for him in Heaven that he didn't understand on Earth.
All of the people waiting to meet and teach him have either been effected by him somehow or vice versa. Three of them are strangers and he is responsible for two of their deaths.
When he first arrives in heaven he is unable to talk so he can better listen.
These are the lesson Eddie learns as he closes his mouth and opens his mind:
1. There are no random acts.
2. We are all connected.
3. No life is a waste.
4. Life has to end, but love doesn't.
5. Hatred is a curved blade--the harm we do to others we also do to ourselves.
6. Sometimes when you think you're losing something you're really just passing it on to someone else.
7. Sacrifice isn't something to be ashamed of, it's something to be proud of.
8. Strangers are just family we have yet to come to know.
9. Everyone deserves to be forgiven.
After Eddie learns these lessons he is taken to Ruby Pier where he is greeted by all the people he protected and kept safe simply by maintaining the park and preventing accidents. Their children were there too, and their children's children.
What a sweet realization.
It's the very reason I love the finale of the musical Les Miserables so much. Every time I see it I get a lump in my throat when Jean Val Jean dies and is greeted by all the grateful people he effected.
During the daily grind of life it's hard to remember our significance in the lives of others. It's so easy to feel isolated and alone and forget that each life effects the other, and the other effects the next.
And the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.
Kinda makes me want to pour myself a cup of hot chocolate and watch It's a Wonderful Life.