I continued to love the movie through adulthood. I appreciated things differently. Like how close Charlie and Grandpa Joe were and how the movie showed the importance of family. That if we treat others well, and do the right thing, good things will come. That we should be grateful for every moment, every experience, and everything we have.
But above all of these things, the biggest take away from Willy Wonka is this:
If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it; want to change the world... there's nothing to it.
That was always my favorite part in the movie, when Mr. Wonka is singing this song. And maybe I didn't fully understand the words when I was a kid, but as I got older I sure did. That song is one of my all time favorites. I am brought to tears nearly every time I listen to it. It's so simple, but so beautiful. Paradise, as we know it, is right here. Right in front of us. And if there's something that needs to be changed, we have the power to change it. How amazing is that? Our minds, our imaginations, are really a beautiful, powerful thing. They can give us hope, they can give us ideas, they can give us power and confidence.
I often have conversations with God or my guardian angel. Sometimes, I doubt that these are real. Am I just making it up? Is it just my imagination? When I asked this question to a spiritual director, her response was "Did God not create your imagination?"
That was the only answer I needed. I no longer doubt the power of my imagination. As the song states, there is no life I know to compare with Pure Imagination.
When news of Gene Wilder's death broke a few weeks ago, my heart broke right along with millions of other people across the globe who were inspired by this movie or other work that Gene Wilder did. I'll always think of him as Willy Wonka. I'll always hear him sing the words of Pure Imagination. He made that movie what it is for me and for so many other people. I know that he had many great projects outside of this movie, but I can't help but imagine him up in Heaven in his Wonka costume, joking with kids and eating candy. Pure Imagination.
Bonus: Here is the Glee Cast covering Pure Imagination. One of my favorite covers they ever did It's just the audio but worth the listen. :)