Recently we netflixed a movie called Savannah Smiles. It was a movie I loved when I was little and wanted to revisit and also wanted James to see. It is a little unrealistic and corny but I still love it.
It is about a little girl, about six years old, who is neglected by her wealthy and busy parents (her father is running for the state senate). She has a nanny who puts her to bed, she eats breakfast by herself and is left behind when her parents go on skiing trips. Watching Little Rascals, she gets the idea that running away would teach her parents a lesson. So she packs a suitcase and, during an outing with friends, sneaks away and hides in a run down old car that turns out to be stolen by two petty crooks named Alvie and Bootsy. Because they are fugitives, they are unable to simply return her and when they find out there is a $100,000 reqard for her safe return, hitting the jackpot becomes too good to be true.
I’ll stop there for anyone who wants to see it but it is a wonderful story. Bridget Anderson, who plays Savannah, is wonderfully adorable. The story bears themes of conversion and redemption and the imporance of spending time with and knowing your children and how precious they really are.
The title song (I so wish they would release a soundtrack to this movie) begins with these lyrics:
“When Savannah smiles, I hear someone saying, ‘hey, loser, you just won.’ When Savannah smiles those grey clouds start to prayin’, ‘bring on the sun’. Music, sweet music, lifts my soul, sets it free. Everything is fine every single time Savannah smiles at me. Oh, smile Savannah, just one more time for me.”
The song goes on to describe how just one of this little girl’s smiles removes any pain or sadness or struggle and how much just a little smile from a child can do. And it got me thinking…
Why is it that no matter how tired I am and how many times Cecilia wakes up during the night, I can’t sleep in another room without missing her like crazy?
Why is it that no matter how many tantrums she throws and whimpers for pity she dishes out, one hug makes it all disappear?
Why is it that no matter how much food she gets on her clothes and her chair and in her hair and on the floor or how many times I have to tell her not to throw her juice cup, whenever she says she is, “Done!” I can’t help but smile?
Why is it that no matter how many news stories I see about terrorism or crooked politicians or senseless violence or anti-Catholic bigotry, she can wrap her arms around my neck with a hug and make the whole world disappear in a brightness of warmth and joy?
It is amazing, isn’t it? Why is it?
Because it is through our children that it is easiest to see the face of God.