As I watched my favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I thought back to times when I’ve wondered what life would be like if I had never been born.
Many times I found myself home alone on Christmas Eve watching holiday movies, feeling sad that my children couldn’t be with me. But this particular movie was a comfort to me, and watching it every year has become my very own holiday tradition.
Jimmy Stewart, who plays George Bailey in the movie, became like an old friend to me. And though I knew the story by heart, I cried when the villain, Mr. Potter, was on the brink of ruining George and his reputation, and bit my fingernails as Clarence the Angel gave George the gift of insight and gratefulness, by showing him how different the world would be without him.
I could have felt sorry for myself all those lonely Christmas Eves, but I didn’t. The movie made me see how blessed I am, how much I have contributed to the world, and how the world is different because my parents saw fit to see me into this world, who relied on their parents, and so on.
My wonderful children and grandchildren are here because I was born. I’m so glad that some angel didn’t listen when I recklessly announced that I wished I had never been born. Maybe at one point in my life I needed to know what it was that I contributed to this world, but because of this movie, I can imagine it, and that’s enough for me.
It makes me see that we all have touched someone else’s life in some way. I wonder how many people have stopped to think about that. Our lives intertwine, relying on each other to make our lives richer, just by being here.
The movie, directed by Frank Capra, was not meant to be a Christmas movie originally, and was actually a flop at the box office. But its message of hope, faith, and love of friends and family has made it a timeless classic.
We should be grateful for our sometimes-crazy, chaotic, mix-up lives, because, as Clarence shows George, it could always be worse.
My favorite part of the movie was the ending, when, gathered around his family and friends, George realizes how truly loved he is. His brother, Harry, whom he saved from drowning when he was a little boy, held a glass up to toast George, saying, “To my brother, George, the richest man in town.”
George picks up a copy of the book, “Tom Sawyer,” that someone left behind, and reads the inscription inside the front cover: “No man is a failure who has friends,” which is signed by Clarence. (And of course, the famous line from Zu-Zu, who exclaims, “Look Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”)
Throughout the entire movie, the audience is shown what a great friend George has been to everyone, and never realized how many lives he actually touched. When everyone came forward to help him during his time of need, he saw that love, magnified.
We should all be so lucky, to see what the world would be like without us. But as I said before, all we really need to do is imagine it from time to time, and realize how wonderful life really is.