George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? Do you want the moon? . . . Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.
Mary Hatch: I’ll take it. Then what?
Don’t you love this scene? George is so caught up in the romance of the moment that he can’t imagine giving his girl something ordinary. He’s inspired to think big. His quest is to find the most impossible, improbable, incredible gift ever. Of course, he can’t deliver, but we love him for making the offer.
“Wanting the moon” has come to mean wanting the impossible or wanting everything. Or both. This phrase reminds me of the many people, who spend their lives wanting, striving, getting, and yet somehow never feeling satisfied. Instead of contentment, their lives are characterized by the question, “Then what?”
I guess part of the problem is that our hearts can’t be trusted. The Bible tells us this. (Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”) And all our experiences live it out. It’s way too easy to desire the wrong things. How many diabetics love the sugar that could kill them? How many abused women love the men who would hurt them? . . .
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