Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Five things I learned from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

There is always a Mr. Potter in our lives

We closed out Thanksgiving Day by welcoming in the Christmas season viewing the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This movie provoked deep thought in me this time. 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 by passed him, leaving him powerless.

We have dreams waiting to be fulfilled

As a child, 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. Many of our dreams stay in the shadows of our life waiting for the right time to become real. 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. Dreams will wait, but seldom need to be abandoned or forgotten.

We make a difference in small but important ways

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 us in the realization of our accomplishments. Still, it is good to realize we have been of 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.

What if you had not existed?

George Bailey was given the opportunity to see life without him in it. Have you ever done that? Think about 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 saved lives. What about the fireman who saved the lives of others during their everyday work? What about the patient’s 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?

Look at your life, examine it. Find the purpose in it.

Can we go through our mundane life and realize the daily influence we have on others? Do you remember each time George Bailey would run up the stairs, the banister knob would come off in his hand? He hated that until he lost it. Then he kissed it, was thrilled to have it. Even the possibility of going to jail changed perspective when he had lost 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. Look at your life remembering each individual year, each person whom you interacted with, 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 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.

Thoughts to ponder and discuss

What are the Mr. Potters’ in your life?

What are some of your dreams?

How have you made an impact in the lives of others?

What sacrifices have you made in your life for others?

What would life have been like for those around you, had you not existed?

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