“Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:14
As Bert, the beloved chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, feels the winds change in the opening scene of the movie he chants; “Winds in the east, there's a mist comin' in, like somethin' is brewin' and 'bout to begin. Can't put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what's to happen all happened before.” He alludes to the arrival of the world’s most famous nanny - who soon floats onto the doorstep of the Bank’s home to animate the lives of Jane and Michael and answer the plea of their father George for a qualified and diligent caretaker.
Her unexpected arrival is a pleasant surprise to almost everyone involved. She solves problems with a touch of magic and routinely suspends the laws of reality, to provide those whom she comes in contact with a reality check. Her iconic bag is filled with a unique combination of advocacy, orderliness and spontaneity. With these gifts she inspires people to live a joyful life with both freedom and self-control. Some are radically and instantly transformed by following this way of living; some are bewildered and astounded by the transformation in their loved ones lives.
The effect of their encounter with Mary is so great that the children cannot imagine life without her ever again, and beg her to always be with them. Mary Poppins responds, “I’ll stay until the wind changes.” Assuring them that she will challenge and help them grow during this time of transition in their lives, serving as a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. In other words, the wind knows the needs of the Banks family and will provide for them the right person, in the right situation, for exactly the right length of time. Ultimately, when all relationships (and kites) have been mended, Mary Poppins magical umbrella catches a gust of the breeze that carries her onward and upward.
Mary Poppins is a great example of what it means to be driven by the Holy Spirit in our lives. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you - oracle of the Lord - plans for your welfare and not woe, so as to give you a future of hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NABRE).” God created and uses our unique personalities, talents and gifts to place us at particular times throughout our lives in our families, jobs and various situations for the good of both ourselves and others. While we may not be delivered to the porch of our neighbors problems via magical flying umbrella (those looking to acquire the skill might ask St. Joseph of Cupertino for his intercession), we are created for a purpose filled life and empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of God.
Christ promises that the wind of the Spirit will carry us and supply us with all that is necessary to spread the Gospel. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).” What is even more impressive than the power of the Holy Spirit is that all we need to do is open our hearts and the same Spirit that hovered over the waters of the deep abyss will dwell within our souls. We then can be the wind of change and transformation the world so desperately needs.
Like Mary Poppins, when we allow the mighty wind to catch our umbrellas we will be given the fruits, gifts and charisms of the Spirit to do great works, glorify God in great tongues (yes, even greater than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious), and be witnesses of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Is it just me or is there a draft in here?