I’m really looking forward to the release of the new “Mary Poppins” movie on December 19, 2018! Mary Poppins was written by P.L. Travers back in the 1930s. Of course, it was Walt Disney who turned it into a movie in 1964. If you’ve seen the movie, “Saving Mister Banks you know there is a fascinating back story. We looked at this several years ago as part of the St. Luke’s On Broadway series. If you’re interested in hearing the stories, you can go back and watch the sermon, here.
We all want to feel loved and a sense of peace. We all want to feel like there’s a sense of meaning in our lives and so often the opportunities pass us by because we miss them. We have eyes to see and ears to hear but we miss it even when it’s right before us. Three things I want to share with you so you might see the opportunities God has placed before you.
First of all, I want you to remember that you have the power to choose how you will deal with the pain in the past. You have the power to decide how you’re going to deal with the pain and the hurts of your past that inevitably come. They don’t have to determine your future. As people of faith we believe it is God who gives us strength and God who gives us hope so that even though we may have known defeat or destruction or pain in the past there is still a hope in our future.
It’s no secret that the P.L. Travers, author of “Mary Poppins” was a hard woman. She was described as cruel, rude and thoughtless of other people’s feelings. After she died, her granddaughter wrote about her, “She loved no one and no one loved her.” What a way to end your life – someone who never moved past all the pain in her life.
Secondly, it’s fascinating to me that Travers’ life would intersect with Walt Disney; a man who chose a very different way of life, in spite of his tough upbringing. His father, Elias Disney was a very stern and strict man as so often happened in that generation and he was very frugal. As a young man Walt was looking back on his life, saying this:
“There was a time in my life that I thought about that eight-year-old boy every day. I thought about him every day but I finally decided I didn’t like the story. So I decided I loved my life. My life is a miracle. I loved my dad. He did the best he could. I decided I was not going to let the pain of my past determine the end of my story because everybody has a sad story to tell. Everybody has pain. But you have to be careful you don’t let your pain determine the end of your story.”
P.L. Travers never moved past the pain in her life and as a result she was cruel, mean and rude. All of the things she wanted in life were right there before her and she missed it. Walt Disney had a very difficult childhood but made a different decision – that he would build the happiest place on earth and try to create a smile on every child and person who could come, each with a struggling childhood; each making a different decision. As people of faith we believe we have been given the power and hope to be able to take the pain, the destruction, the struggles we have had and not let it be the final word in our story. We have a sense of hope. We have eyes to see and ears to hear and what we’re looking for is actually in front of us.
Third, how does the healing happen? I believe it begins when you and I begin to care about the feelings of those around us, when you start to care about the feelings of others, when you start to bless and show kindness to those around you. When you start to show the compassion and the mercy, when you show kindness, it’s amazing how healing can begin.