24 December 2012

Zuzu's Petals


"Zuzu's petals" is a phrase from the 1946 movie It's A Wonderful Life which since its release has become a Christmas season film classic.


The petals belong to Zuzu Bailey, the youngest daughter of George Bailey the main character. Early in the film, Zuzu shows a flower that she brought home from school and became upset when the petals started to fall off. Her father pretended to reattach them but actually just slipped the lost petals into his pocket.

By the end of the movie, after considering suicide, George has been shown what the world might be like if he had never been born. Given a second chance by God, aided by the angel Clarence, all the changes he had seen in the world were undone. His first realization that his world had been returned to him was when he found that Zuzu's petals were once again in his pocket.

The phrase has become a kind of shorthand way of reminding people of the hope that things can be mended and made better.

"Zuzu's petals...Zuzu... There they are!"

1 comment:

  1. I'm in the process of naming my caregiving guide service Zuzu's Petals, but I see a same thing only different point of view.

    Zuzu in her innocence believes her daddy can fix anything, even her broken rose, just by pasting it back together, even when we know that's impossible. In the extreme depth of his despair, when he's so upset he's yelled at everyone in the house, George still has kindness so deep inside his soul that he can't disappoint Zuzu so he hides the petals in his pocket and returns the rose to her "whole", all fixed up for her. He may be on the edge of a total mental collapse, but he makes sure Zuzu is content, calm and happy.

    Later when Clarence grants George's wish of having never been born and he realizes there are no petals in his pocket, and eventually that something is horribly wrong with his world, he understands how precious his life is to him, regardless of the stress and hardship he has had to face throughout. Knowing he's returned to his real life by finding Zuzu's Petals in his pocket he returns home where he finds all the people he has touched gathered to support him emotionally, spiritually and financially by sacrificing for him as he has for them throughout their lives.

    To me the significance of Zuzu's Petals is that if we have faith of children and give our impossibly broken situation to our father He will fix it for us, even when it takes the form of community gathering around us to give us spiritual, emotional, financial, physical love support.

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