I love old black and white movies. So when I heard that one of my all time favorites, “Roman Holiday,” celebrated it’s 65th anniversary, I couldn’t help but recall one of the reasons this movie has withstood the test of time: it was Audrey Hepburn. Her wit and charm captured audiences the moment she appeared up on that large screen, she was a vision of grace in black and white.
But, there was so much more to her than an image. She had a contagious appreciation for life, which came, in part, because of her experiences as a child. To her, each day was a gift. Audrey projected this up on the screen and in real life.
Unfortunately, we all know how so many times an image gets idealized, only to find out the image and the ideal do not go hand in hand. But, in this case, time did not disappoint! Audrey’s legacy has aged well. That’s why even after all these years, I am pleased to pass the torch, or rather the DVD, along with the box of popcorn to my daughter and now grand-daughters. The movie and the woman are classic!
Audrey pushed back against the norm of Hollywood’s expectations and lifestyle, but she did it with gentleness, and charm. She also had her own style, often wearing slacks, instead of dresses, flats instead of heals. This was partly due to her height, and the fact she had large feet, so it was also practical. Women adored her fresh ideas and her honesty, which helped pave the way for the styles to change so that women could drop some of their pretense.
Designers respected her opinion, as well. They loved this tall and slender girl that was now their new model. So they did not hesitate, with her in mind, as they created gowns that were stylish, but not provocative. Audrey’s pleasing appearance, along with her caring attitude exhibited grace and transcended multiple generations, which made it easy for her’s to become a household name.
While taking interviews, in her later life, a window was finally opened revealing the reasons for her humble nature and acts of gratitude. During the war, her life was harsh. Experiencing starvation as a child had left its mark. She was extremely appreciative that she had survived, now she wanted to make sure other children had the opportunity to do the same.
It seems that this crisis, at such a young age, became the prism through which the rest of her life was filtered, and it eventually led to her calling. Audrey believed, because of her unique past, her calling was to work with children in need. She believed it so strongly, that this woman who extended a hand of grace to those while she lived, also made provisions for it to continue long past her lifetime.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me,
(Matthew 25:35-36 NIV)
Have there been times of crisis that you’ve overcome? What hardships or struggles from your past now shape your life? When we allow God to take those most difficult times from our past and use them to help heal, comfort, strengthen or give courage to someone else, then we share in the Grace of our Lord.