I really enjoy old movies. Some of the ones I really enjoy you may not have even heard of. Like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; I Remember Mama; The Heiress; Jane Eyre, just to name a few. But one of my all time favorite movies is ‘Magnificent Obsession’, with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. It’s based on a book of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas. To date, I believe there have been two makes of the movie but I like this version best.
While many of you may consider this movie a bit on the cheesy side, I would agree, to a point. It’s the basic premise of the movie, and I imagine the book (which I haven’t read), that I find particularly poignant. Having said that, I have to tell you there’s a line from the movie that, to this day, I haven’t really been able to figure out … and believe me when I tell you, I’ve seen this movie probably two dozen times in my lifetime.
The movie would be what you would call an old version of the ‘Pay It Forward’ premise. Throw in the drunk, playboy-made-good doctor, falling in love with the woman who hates you because you’re responsible for the death of her husband, near fatal accident that blinds her, you ultimately save her life and her sight and you get the woman … and you get the idea of the rest of the story. It’s the part about ‘made good’ that is the real storyline of the movie. He’s made good through being taught about the ‘pay it forward’ philosophy. I like the part where they interject God by saying, “The first man to ever put this into practice died on a cross at the age of 33.” But there’s still this line that’s never fully explained. The man who was killed–you know the woman’s husband–he practiced this philosophy and after his death, his widow (who knew nothing about it) was inundated with people coming to her to pay it back. They would all say to her, “He never let me pay it back because he would tell me, “It’s already all used up.””
When the bad-guy-turned-good becomes a doctor and takes on this new philosophy, he, too, is heard telling a young patient’s mother who tries to tell him she’ll pay him the surgery costs back as soon as she can … you guessed it, “Don’t worry about it. Soon it will all be used up.” I just didn’t get it. Neither did/does my husband, for that matter. Yes, my husband has actually watched this cheesy movie with me. Actually on more than one occasion. Well, I’m here to tell you my spin on the whole topic and I’d like you to tell me what you think. Am I reaching on this one?
Awhile ago, I wrote a blog about illness and the guilt that some so-called religious people try to place on me, and others who are chronically ill. In that blog, I explained that, through many, many hours-days-weeks-months of praying, I believe God answered my prayer about why I was given Lupus. I went on to state (about accepting that it was there for a purpose and would I always have it or someday be healed?), “Not until God has used it up to fulfill His purpose in my life.” Bing! No, not the search engine … ‘BING’, as in the light bulb going off in my head.
In the movie, the main character uses his millions of dollars to ‘pay it forward’ and bless others, and possibly the ‘used all up’ could refer to running out of money or even stopping when death of the giver happens. But it occurred to me that we all receive blessings by God for the specific reason of using it to turn around and bless others. Since the day I believe God answered my prayers concerning Lupus, I have always looked upon it as a blessing from God as well. And what are we to do with blessings from God? Turn around and bless others! So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do in life. Find a way to use what I have been given to bless others. Be it with knowledge to help someone starting out on the journey of a chronic illness; coming alongside someone who is ill to walk with them when times are tough; to not only show, but actually feel compassion and empathy for those that are hurting-and not just from an illness; and pray … then pray some more. The list goes on and on. I am to continue doing this until “it’s all used up”. That is to say, until God no longer needs me in this area and He’ll heal me, or it won’t be “used up” till I can literally give it no more.
The title of the movie says it all. It really is a Magnificent Obsession. You do find that there is joy in it all. There is a purpose in it all. Each of us can look at the blessings in life that we’ve been given by our gracious Father in heaven and commit to blessing others because, after all, “Soon it will all be used up.”