One of my favorite movies (and I have quite a few) is Harvey. It’s the story of a man (Elwood P. Dowd played by Jimmy Stewart) whose best friend is a pooka named Harvey, an invisible 6 ft. 3.5 in. white rabbit. Throughout the movie Elwood talks and refers to Harvey assuming everyone knows he’s real. I love the world Elwood lives in. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge the skepticism or outright unbelief of people. And he’s true to what he believes. Although Harvey is unseen by others, Elwood always introduces him to friends and consults him when making a decision. Sometimes he simply converses with Harvey, knowing that he understands like no one else does.
This movie is on my mind because I just returned from a trip to Massachusetts, where I lived for most of my life. I drove around areas that have so many memories, visually looking at places that hold emotions within me. How do I separate the past from the present? There is this intangible, unseen part of me that continues to exist when its time has passed, like a ghost walking next me. Not a scary ghost, but someone who can only understand the emotions because of shared experience. Then I realize it’s not a ghost. It’s Jesus! He was with me through all the experiences these places bring to my mind, the good and the bad. I can talk with Him about them like I can talk with no other person. He understands like no other person can. He laughs and cries with me as we reflect on those memories together.
In the past I’ve believed that I needed to make sure I’d confessed any sin I may have committed or acknowledged my unworthiness before enjoying His presence. That ritual was burdensome and sometimes kept me from going to Him at all. It certainly didn’t make for the kind of relationship I thought I should have with Him. Now I know that I don’t need a ritual of repentance to assure my acceptability of His attention. I need only to turn to Him, because He’s always there and I’m always acceptable to Him (Ephesians 1:4).
Jesus is always with us and more real than Harvey is to Elwood P. Dowd. We are children of God, the treasure He gladly sacrificed His Son to redeem. The freedom He purchased for us should never be overshadowed by some sense of shame of unworthiness. May you know this reality today. And I would love to hear from you, wherever you are on this transient road of mortal life that we’re traveling together toward our eternal Home.