It’s a Jolly Holiday With Mary

This afternoon I found myself glued to the television watching the film Saving Mr. Banks. I had originally viewed the movie the day it released in theaters in 2013. I’ll be honest. I’m a Mary Poppins fanatic. The television remote control will always find it, the movie album is perched on my closet shelf, and I’ve seen the Broadway play four times. I even own a Mary Poppins snow globe. Why?

Why are we so enamored of this quirky, tough talking, umbrella-toting nanny? All evening I pondered the question. I settled on a few conclusions:

As children, we all wanted a person to enter our lives who made our childhood magical. Someone who defied the norm; an adult who would sing, dance, have tea parties on the ceiling, make toys fly through the air, yet bring order and discipline.

As adults, we wish we could be Mary Poppins, forgetting the tasks and responsibilities of adulthood to twirl around the house singing with gusto. She reminds us that people are more important than tasks or jobs. She hints of the possibilities of what life could be when our priorities are in the proper place.

As women, we desire someone to pop into our life to clean, take care of the children, and bring order. And in the recesses of our mind, we dream of maybe changing our family or circumstances from one that is a bit chaotic, lonely, or disappointing to one of love, hope, and happiness just like Mary did for the Banks family.

No matter how unrealistic it might be, we love movies with a happy ending that make us forget about life for a moment and escape to another world. There is none better than Mary Poppins.

Let me turn the screen a bit for another perspective. P.L Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, had a very difficult childhood where creating fantasies helped her escape the turmoil which led to the creation of this beloved nanny. Walt Disney made a promise to his daughter to bring Mary Poppins to the screen and spent twenty years making it a reality. These two individuals overcame obstacles to create a treasure that impacted the lives of many children.

What can we learn from the author, the Hollywood mogul, and the movie itself?
1. Our struggles can lead to something great if we keep persevering. Our life has purpose.

2. If we have a dream, don’t give up. Keep hurdling the barriers with the vision before you.

3. We don’t need to look elsewhere for a magical solution because we had it with us all the time. Mary doesn’t change the circumstances of the Banks family; she simply opens their eyes to recognize what they have and helps them learn to value it and make it a priority.

There are so many takeaways from the 1964 movie that we could contemplate and discuss the aspects all day. But sometimes it’s just good to sit back, watch, and let it entertain you for a bit of reprieve from a crazy world.

I will always be enchanted by a fictional woman who has my heart with a snap of her fingers, an utterance for us to spit spot, and a song to make us believe we can endure any task with a spoonful of sugar. It truly is a jolly holiday with Mary.

About Shelley Pulliam

Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale.