It Really Is A Wonderful Life
I’d venture to say that most of us are familiar with the 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life, the story of George Bailey, a decent man, a good guy, your average Joe (or George), who through no fault of his own comes to a point one fateful Christmas Eve when he thinks the world would be better off without him, and wishes he’d never been born. Enter Clarence Oddbody, Angel 2nd class, trying to earn his wings, and the idea of letting George see what the world would be like without him is born. At one point, Clarence tells George, “It’s a great gift you’ve been given,” and I agree.
Most of us go about our daily lives doing what we must to get through. We go to work. We take care of our families. We love. We laugh. We cry. We worry. We see the insanity of the world we live in and shake our head, believing there isn’t anything we can do to change it. And really, who are we to think we know what’s best? We aren’t God, after all, though we’ve all known those who think they are.
We recognize we are just drops of water in a vast ocean. We don’t believe we make a difference in the grand scheme of things. We don’t believe our existence has real value in the world. We think that outside our limited circle of family and friends no one would feel our loss if we disappeared. But the kindness or cruelty we thoughtlessly toss into the universe travels and spreads to an infinite degree, touching lives we will never know. We never stop to think that all those drops of water that make up the ocean flow together, that waves and currents are endless, and that even the tiniest ripple has its effect on the course of things.
Now and then, we’ll receive the gift of knowing we’ve made a difference in someone’s life, that we’ve left something positive and good in the world to give life meaning. I count myself blessed to have had a few of those “George Bailey Moments,” as I like to call them, when someone has told me that something I’d done made a difference in ways I’d never considered. Taking the time to encourage someone, be it with constructive advice, a needed laugh, or just being there to listen when they needed it, can have a huge effect.
The Christmas season abounds with tales of redemption and enlightenment; there’s a reason It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and The Grinch have become classics. If someone has made an impact on your life, let them know. Think outside of yourself and remember the Golden Rule before you jump to negativity. Let the love, the kindness, the helping hands we extend to our fellow man during the holidays become a habit we live throughout the year. Let’s strive to live our lives as though we believe every action makes a difference—because it does, whether we see it or not.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you be blessed with many George Bailey Moments in the coming year.