Schindler’s List is a film about a German businessman of considerable prestige, who lived during World War II, and who had used his power and influence to redirect as many condemned Jews as he possibly could away from the death camps and into service at his production facilities. He did this at tremendous personal expense. He wasn’t making a profit. He was losing a fortune. He did it anyway, though, because he knew what the only alternative would be for these people.
There is a scene at the end that I am never quite able to handle without being reduced to a big weepy monkey. It shows him breaking down in tears at the conclusion of it all, once the war was finished and the Nazis were disappearing into the woodwork, fleeing like cockroaches before the Allied advance. He is surrounded by his workers, who are presenting him with tokens of appreciation. Despite the overwhelming joy that one would think should result from experiencing the fruition of such an accomplishment, he is overcome with sorrow, suddenly aware of how much more he could have done, how many more he could have saved, if he had given up just a bit more personal comfort.
“This car,” he says, motioning to his automobile, “Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there…ten people…ten more people.”
He removes an expensive pin from his suitcoat. “This pin. Two people. This is gold! Two more people! He would have given me two for it.” (Speaking of one of the Nazi officials whom he had been bribing.) “At least one. He would have given me one. One more…one more person.”
He completely loses it, falling into a heap and sobbing like a baby, which is more or less what happens to me every time I see it.
I have a feeling, though, that in the final analysis, we will all have an experience like this. At the end of time, what neglect will we suddenly find ourselves guilty of having allowed in our lives? For me, that will be a long day, and a long list, and it is my earnest desire to prevent any further elongation in that department.
The trick, though, is to be aware of these types of things without getting all weird about it. Too often, that is what happens with any sort of spiritual premise which would operate in conjunction with a person’s internal sense of urgency.
We must live in the present, refusing to succumb to the fears and regrets that would haunt us. Our thoughts and efforts must be positive, or they will be poisoned. Please trust me on this one.
Friends, I humbly invite you to leave no stone unturned in terms of the always-available opportunity to show love and do good in this world. And please, be sure you have fun doing it. That is all.