A Wonderful Life

“It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.” -Tony Robbins

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey, a man who lives in the small town of Bedford Falls, wishes that he never existed. He’s encountered a series of bad incidents, and the pressures and consequences of these incidents are too big for him to handle. So he wishes he was never born.

Then he meets Clarence, an angel sent from Heaven, and Clarence gives George his wish. George now lives in a world in which he never existed. He has a chance to see how others live their lives without his influence.

At some point, we all wonder about our purpose on this planet. Why are we here? What influence do we have on the people around us?

Writer Caryll Houselander wrote, “Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose to our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but waste and weariness. But it may be that God has sent us there because but for us, Christ would not be there. That alone makes it worthwhile.”

Often, many of us underestimate our influence on the world. We don’t think we add value. We don’t have any gifts to share. We don’t realize the impact we have on the people we encounter.

Just as George Bailey soon discovered in the movie, our influence travels far and wide in each of our lives. Kind words lead to acts of love. Acts of love lead to compassion and caring. Compassion and caring leads to change in the world.

“Your love for one another,” writes Houselander, “will be stronger, deeper, and more enduring when it is rooted in the One who is the source of all love.”

If we open our eyes and realize that what we do and what we say can make an impact in our world, then we begin to understand that we are truly living a wonderful life.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK

 

 

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The Heart Leaf Philodendron

Many years ago, when I moved into my first apartment, my father gave me a plant. He actually took leaves from a plant that hung in his living room and gave me a portion of it to re-plant at my new home.

What I soon discovered was this was no ordinary plant.

My dad had quite the green thumb—he could make anything grow. The original plant was a Heart Leaf Philodendron, a common house plant. It’s been used as an indoor plant since Victorian times, and it has the ability to grow very large.

He helped me re-plant my new leaves into a small planter, and just like that, I had an instant decoration for my home.

At first it was fun to watch the leaves begin to sprout and expand. Then, the plant exploded. The vines grew long, and I wrapped them around the tiny planter. I knew I would have to re-pot it soon.

My plant traveled with me as I moved over the years. No matter where I put it—living room, kitchen, dining room—it continued to grow. All I needed to do was water the soil, spray the leaves and make sure I gave it a little bit of love.

Then my father died.

He had a heart attack on a Friday morning, and for the first time in my life I came face-to-face with death. It hurt.

The plant now took on a special meaning. This was a connection with my dad, and I wanted it close to me. I wanted to see it, so I could think of him and what he meant to me. So I took it to work and put it in my office.

But, as much as I wanted it around me, I found myself getting preoccupied with projects, paperwork and life…and the plant was neglected.

After returning from a long weekend, I found it drooping, sagging, and brown. A lot of the leaves were dead.

How could I have done this? How could I have treated my dad’s plant this way?

I cut back the dead vines, and grabbed a bottle of water. I had to return to the beginning–a small plant ready to grow again.

And it slowly came back to life, resurrected.

And then it hit me. My dad was a man of great faith. He taught me how to love and honor God. He taught me how to embrace the Holy Spirit’s constant love. He taught me to how to walk with Jesus, through good times and bad.

He was still teaching me, even after he was gone.

Sometimes we all need to stop and cut back the bad vines. We need to water our soil and spray our leaves. We need learn once again how to give a little bit of love.

And we need to believe in the power of the resurrection.

This Heart Leaf Philodendron was no ordinary plant.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK