Last evening my husband and I joined a group of Reader's Theater enthusiasts to read the play, It's a Wonderful Life. It was presented as it would have been done on a radio show, complete with commercials for Lux soap.
This story, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, has always been one of my favorite Christmas movies. It seems to have all of the ingredients to give you that "good feeling" we love to experience at Christmas, or actually anytime. Somehow actually participating in the story as a reader, made those good feelings, even more present. First of all the title is a winner in my book. Who doesn't want a wonderful life? Other gifts the story holds are the power of love, family, generosity, kindness, believing, community and service, to name a few.
In watching, listening, or reading this story we are reminded of what is truly important in life. The character of George Bailey played by Jimmy Stewart is the epitome of all of the qualities noted above. When Uncle Billy loses $8,000 from the Bailey family savings and loan business, George loses hope for the future and all sense of his life being worthwhile. His feelings of overwhelm and fear cause him to contemplate jumping from a bridge. When this act is interfered with by his guardian angel, Clarence (my favorite character), he is given the opportunity to view what life would be like had he never been born. What he learned was had he not been born, the community of Beford Falls and it's residents would not have the life style they now enjoyed. There were several specific examples of how other's lives were positively affected, and even saved, because of him.
What is so uplifting about this story is it reminds us all that any problems we are facing will some how eventually come to an end. No matter what situation, thoughts or feelings we have at any given moment that leave us in despair and believing our life is not worthwhile, we are forgetting the stream of situations, conversations, relationships and events where we affected someone else in a very positive way and that each life is meaningful.
In taking the lessons George learned, I am reminded that to have a wonderful life, I need to stay in integrity with myself, appreciating all of the experiences I have, all of the people that touch my life and the opportunity I have to touch others.