Smart or Pleasant?

One of my favorite movies of all time is "Harvey." Jimmy Stuart plays Elwood Doud whose friend is an invisible 6 foot rabbit named Harvey. Elwood spends his time in a local tavern with Harvey as his drinking buddy. Everyone thinks Elwood is crazy and his 6 foot rabbit friend is a product of his mental illness. This truth is not disputed but Elwood charms those around him. Elwood has a peace that family, friends and psychiatrists have not yet been able to achieve. My favorite line in the movie is when Elwood says to his therapist "Years ago. my mother used to say to me, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.' Well for years I was smart, I recommend pleasant, you may quote me." Elwood's words ring true. Smart is overrated. I also recommend pleasant. Smart has to do with assimilating, carrying, and dispensing information. Smart answers the question "What do you think?" Pleasant answers the question "How do you feel?" Smart is about gathering facts. Pleasant is about building relationships. Smart is the pathway to success. Pleasant is the path to deep friendships. Smart is winning the debate. Pleasant is hearing the story. Smart is solving the problem. Pleasant is living life in the moment.

Elwood also said "...I've wrestled with reality for 35 years Doctor, and I am happy to state I finally won out over it." As I grow older, like Elwood, I have begun to win the battle with reality as the world defines it. Jesus says "be in the world but not of the world." My prayer is that each day I will be in the world but not of the world. I pray that I will be less smart and more pleasant. I want to be like Elwood Doud and Jesus of Nazareth.