Life lessons from Mr. Banks, Walter Mitty & Paul

January 24, 2014 | encouragement, faith | 2 comments

Bruce washed the dishes while I sat on a barstool, elbows on the counter and chin resting in my hands. In my usual style I brought up an analytical question: "What happened to the hospitable life we once led? Friends over regularly. Meals around the dining room table. Playdates at the park."

In his sweet attempt to appease, he replied, "Life just got busy, I guess."

Really, the root cause could be lots of things. "Back then" I didn't write online. "Back then" Bruce didn't work over a 80 hrs a week. "Back then" we didn't have four young children.

To be honest the last couple years even if we could have managed the logistics of hosting others in our home, I didn't have the desire to invite people "in". Staying closed off felt like all we could handle.

But now?

The urges to connect are getting louder. My ability to give has grown. I'm ready to step back into life.

Over the holiday break I saw two fabulous movies. One was, "Saving Mr. Banks" (story of the making of Mary Poppins) and the other was "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (which I saw two times...).

Of course, the two movies are incredibly different...but I felt they had one common message:

Live your life to it's fullest.

You know, the "Let's go fly a kite...." mentality?

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For those of you who haven't seen them, here's a brief summary...

In both movies there is a male character who secretly longs for more but is stuck in the mundane.

In "Saving Mr. Banks", Mr. Travers' (real father to the author of Mary Poppins, the inspiration for her Mr. Banks character) personality is magnetic. He lights up with imagination and creativity when interacting with his young daughter. Yet he stuffs himself into a suit for the sake of supporting his family (and fitting the male role of that time period). And turns to alcohol to alleviate the pain of working a routine bank job. In his case, life ends too soon and in too much misery.

Walter Mitty has a more reserved manner. One, you come to find out, began with the sudden death of his father and the immediate responsibility of caring for his mom and sister. To deal with a life he doesn't love, Walter zones out and dreams of a more adventurous one. Until (somewhat by force) he finds himself on a true adventure. Living out his employer's motto:

"To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life."-LIFE magazine

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Now, of course, both examples come from secular movies. Neither one addresses a life outside of this earthly one.

But I know the promise of eternal life for those who believe (have faith) in Jesus' death and resurrection:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

And isn't 2014 going to be the year to #LivebyFaith ?

On this side of heaven, I have some "living" by faith to do. Good things God has already planned already for me.

As  a mom, sometimes I can feel "stuck" in the mundane. Like life is happening all around me while I repeatedly change diapers, fold laundry and load the dishwasher.

Like the two men in these movies I have a choice on how I handle this repetitive life:

  • Do I wallow in discontent and turn to things that seem to bring comfort ? (Mr. Banks)
  • Or do I choose to see the adventure in each day. To realize the mundane are the quintessence of life. Those tasks are my life. (Walter Mitty)

With a little effort I can go beyond those tasks and invite others in. It only takes one phone call to a friend. Or a little more planning ahead to buy groceries for a dinner party. Or a few minutes to clear Legos off the dining room table. Or an hour to encourage a friend via Skype.

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I'm finding the little bit poured out reaps big rewards in the life-giving category.

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Like Paul reminds me, it's living the life God's prepared ahead of time for me to live...the changing diapers, teaching, praying, cooking, encouraging kind of life. All good works we were created to do.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10

My prayer is if you have been on the sidelines or just "getting by", may you listen to those inner rumblings of wanting to engage more with others and enjoy the life you have.

Living your life by faith may mean feeding a newborn every couple hours and enjoying the minutes you are forced to sit still. Trusting all the tasks and needs will be met once you stand up from that feeding.

Living your life by faith may mean focusing on three good things from your day...a sunset...a bathroom trip alone...clothes for your children (even if they aren't clean). Believing God is good even if your day didn't include the beach, a massage and a cold drink.

Living your life by faith today may be trusting God's plan when the circumstances look dire. Your health is not 100%. Your spouse is struggling. Your children are a hot mess. But you have breath and life today. Breathe in His grace, Breathe out His love.

Lord, thank you for not only giving us a life here on earth but a promise of a better one with you for all eternity. Help us to walk this life by faith. Give us eyes to see the good works you have planned already for us to do today. Amen. 

2 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Awesome words. I’ve wanted to go see those two movies, but haven’t gotten the chance yet. I really appreciate your encouragement to live life to the fullest. I was recently reminded that it isn’t our circumstances, but how much we choose to enjoy, that creates hapiness. I’m a mom of 4 kids, 5 years old and under. I totally get the “mundane.” And I DON’T like it. But there’s so much joy, if we just look for it and choose to appreciate it. Thanks for your words!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thank you Rebecca for your encouragement. I hope you get a chance to see them they are both wonderfully done films. Oh girl..four kids, 5 years and younger. I’m thinking you are living quite the life!! Just maybe not the flying to Greenland on a whim, life. Praying for you and I both to see the fun and joy and life we can have with our kiddos in our home. And pray for ways God can direct us to invite others into our mundane, so it becomes less so.

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