Sunday, February 9, 2014

"I didn't do enough."

I recently spent a Saturday night lounging on my couch, watching Schindler's List. This post isn't a movie review, I just want to comment on one thought/scene from the end. (*Insert spoiler alert warning*)

I want to comment on the idea of "enough."

At the end of the movie, Oskar Schindler is surrounded by the crowd of Jewish people he managed to save (costing him basically all of his money, personal safety, etc.) from being killed or sent to prison camps, by employing them in his own factory. His character is fairly composed for most of the movie, but this is when he finally loses it. Surrounded by all these people he devoted his life to saving, he suddenly breaks down and panics. He starts thinking about all the people he didn't save. He references his car, a pen in his pocket, etc., all things he could have sold to save just one more life...two more lives...ten more lives.

Surrounded by that crowd of people who owe their lives to him, he breaks down in the arms of his friend and says, "I didn't do enough." And his friend (one of the Jewish men he worked hardest to save multiple times), said to him, "You did so much."

This hit me somewhere in a tender part of my heart. It got me thinking about what it'll be like for me when I get to the other side, after this life. I actually think I might feel very much like Oskar Schindler. I think I might panic about all the people I didn't help, didn't save, didn't love enough, etc. I might worry about one more, two more, ten more I could have reached. I might be compelled to break down and say, "I didn't do enough."

But maybe "enough" isn't the point. Maybe "so much" is the point.

I'll never be able to help or save or love everyone in the whole world. But while I'm holding my breath and hoping and praying that God will tell me, "You did enough," maybe that's not what I should be hoping to hear.

I recently had a day where I felt like I had accomplished very little. But then I realized that I'd had no less than 4 meaningful conversations with people I cared about that day. And I might not have crossed a lot of things off my To Do list, so yeah, maybe that day I didn't do "enough." But, I do believe that I still did "so much" that day. And when I think back over my life so far, I could probably make a list of things I wish I'd done that I didn't do. I could probably make a hearty list of my "not enoughs." But then I think about the experiences I have had and the deep relationships I've formed with so many people who are priceless to me, and I feel like yes...I have still done so much.

Because yes, maybe "enough" isn't the point. Maybe it isn't about some divine measuring stick with a line somewhere labeled, "Enough." Maybe what matters more, more than "enough," is that God will someday look at me and say, "But you did so much." So yeah, maybe we'll look back on our lives someday and only be able to pinpoint one person we ever made a significant difference to.

But you know what? I think, for a God who has His eye on every sparrow, even just one person is so much more than enough.


Ali Mills said...

That is my FAVORITE scene of the entire movie and I sob every time. And when they all come to his grave and you see all their kids and grandkids and you think "THIS is what he saved." And I agree with you that that HAS to be what it'll feel like on the other side. We'll be able to see how our one act caused ripples and we can see all of the people we helped. Makes me feel like I'm doing a good job even when I know I fall short.

Katie said...

I feel like that so often at the end of the day - like I barely got anything done. That I didn't do enough. But then I remember that the time I spent wiping away tears and being a cheerleader for the sweetest soul I know doesn't amount to nothing. And maybe it amounts to everything. "So much." Life will always be about other people.

Emma Ashby said...

Thank you for this post. It is really exactly what I needed to read after the past couple of weeks.

Alicia Hanley said...

I loooooove this post! D&C 18:15.

preethi said...

So, so gorgeous. Thank you.

Marti said...

Thanks for this post Katie :-) I think about this sort of thing all the time and I love your positive perspective!

{this is us} said...


Kate said...

This is my favorite post you've ever written.

Lita said...

I am so glad to have come across your blog because I have recently been thinking about this idea! It is so easy for me at times to wish I had done more, or to feel that my efforts have not been good enough. At times like those, I have to step back and realize that even small acts of love can cause huge ripple effects of good. Thank you so much for reminding me of that! I love your blog and am a new follower for sure! I just can't resist words of hope :)