We just watched It’s a Wonderful Life and I cried like the sentimental gawp I am.
I forget how well done the movie is; I forget how painful the wonderful life is.
The wonderful life–a life with family, a community, and hard service– is all the more precious because the movie doesn’t hide what Jimmy Stuart gave up for it and the risks that Donna Reed took in tieing herself to a surly man like Jimmy.
The life is all the more wonderful because we see the bitter that has prepared the town for the sweet. Blessed be the ties that bind; these bonds are our liberation.
I just read the PEF article in the latest Ensign. It mentions a missionary companionship in a third-world country, a successful one. Time passed, the missionaries returned–the one to his home where his parents had saved money to pay for his schooling, his room, and his board–and the other to his poverty. His companion’s plight gnawed at the first. He got a job to put himself through school and donated his parent’s gift to the PEF, along with a letter describing his companion and asking if he could be helped. It was done.
Whenever I get fed up of BYU football players going on missions and wasting their athletic talent, I always run across a story like this. Only a mission can teach the youth his own capacity for heroism. We send out missionaries as individuals and they come back as a people.