We closed out Thanksgiving Day by welcoming in the Christmas season with the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This movie provoked deep thought in me this time and I would like to share the lessons I reflected on this year.
It seems there is always a Mr. Potter in our lives. He represents the opposition and consequential growth that happens in our lives. Mr. Potter may be an illness, a financial crisis, a demanding boss, or so many other “unfair” things in life.
In order to grow, we ignore, overcome, rise above, serve others, confront and conquer. In the end of the movie, Mr. Potter did not change. In fact he was worse than ever. However, George and the rest of the town bypassed him, leaving him powerless.
As children, we begin to dream about the things we will accomplish, the places we will go, what we will become and in our childlike mind, there is no failure. Hopefully many of your dreams become reality. It is normal, however, for some dreams to take a back seat to life’s responsibilities. Like in the movie, many of our dreams stay in the shadows of our life waiting for the right time to become real.
However, dreams have no time limits. Evidence of that is all around us. I recently read about the 82-year-old grandpa who is going to college with his granddaughter because it was his dream to attend college, but he could not accomplish it until now.
Then, there is the 73-year-old marathon runner who made it into the Boston Marathon after trying countless times to qualify. I know a 95-year-old who started writing even though she was blind. Her articles were published in the local paper. More of those examples are in my book, Voices From My Heart. Dreams will wait, but seldom need to be abandoned or forgotten.
We do not have Clarence, the angel, waiting to come down and save us. Our lifetime of influence on others is not paraded in front of us to assist in the realization of our accomplishments. Still, it is good to recognize we have contributed some good in the lives of others.
Throughout the entire movie, George sacrificed his trips, his education and desires so someone else’s needs could be met. Nearly every mother can look back and see sacrifices she made for her children, whether it be education, clothing, food, frivolities and extras in her life. Our lives are made up of small daily acts that interact with others, serving, helping, and influencing.
George Bailey is given the opportunity to see life without him in it. Have you ever thought about that? Think of what would not have happened in life had you not been around to make it happen. I gave birth to four sons. My husband and I adopted three siblings, adding two sons and our daughter to our family. It was not easy, but it was worth it. If I did not exist, what about them?
Think of the surgeons who save lives. What about the firemen who rescue others during their everyday work? What about the patients nurses care for, comfort and influence? Think of the friendships you have nourished throughout your life. What would your life be like without that friendship? What would their life be like without you?
In the movie, do you remember each time George Bailey would run up the stairs, the banister knob would come off in his hand? He hates that knob until he loses it. Even the possibility of going to jail changes his perspective when he loses everything.
Can we stand back from our lives and see the world without us? What a sad world it would be! Look at your life; examine it. Find the purpose in it. Do not look at it collectively or shallowly. Remember each year, each person with whom you interacted, each moment you breathed. Yes, you will see things you don’t want to. But take off those glasses and only see the good. Filter your memories.
You know if you are on the freeway and you only want to see red cars, you can blur out all the others and just see red. That is what I am asking you to do. Just see the good that you have done for others. Think long and hard about your past and give yourself credit for the good you have done, the people you have influenced and the joy you have brought. You have had a wonderful life no matter who you are.
This Christmas season, whenever you hear a bell ring, think of something good you have done for others. That makes you the angel to give someone else their wings.
Have you seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”? What life lessons did you take away from it?As you reflect this season, what are the “Mr. Potter’s” in your life that you have overcome? What sacrifices have you made for others? How has your life made an impact? Please join in the conversation.