Friday, December 11, 2009
"You've been given a great gift George. The chance to see what the world would be like without you."
- Clarence Odbody ASC (Angel Second Class)
I've always loved "It's A Wonderful Life" and actually rewatched the movie a few days ago. We've all seen it dozens of times over the years and probably shed a tear or two every time when we are reminded just how important George Bailey was to every person in his life. Sure, the Frank Capra classic can be a little schmaltzy and overly simplistic in its tale, but that is what makes it so interesting and watchable.
Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" lays out a similar scenario with Ebenezer Scrooge being shown how his life has impacted others through the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
Scrooge and Bailey were polar opposites, but both men see how they have lived and how they can live a more rewarding and appreciative life in their day to day actions as ordinary people through their respective journeys with otherworldly spirits.
There have been countless remakes of these scenarios - some better than others - but it always gets me misty eyed and wondering how my world would be depicted. I'm not fishing for compliments nor am I depressed or anything like that. It is just one of those "What if...." questions that go through my mind from time to time.
If we are completely honest, we have all pondered that question at some point. Come on, we have all had those moments when we have wondered if we have ever made a difference or if we would ever be missed when we are gone. We may have even wished we'd never been born.
I firmly believe that we meet and cross paths with specific people for a reason that may or may not be obvious to us or them. We may be affected immediately or much further down the road in our journeys.
I find it fascinating the way each person has such unknown impact on the people around them. We can't all literally save a life such as doctors, fire fighters or police do, but yet we each have the ability to "change" others lives by the way we live ours.
It is pretty easy to see the impact that others have had on our lives, but we often never know the true impact we have had on theirs.
If any of us WERE ever granted that "gift", I think it is safe to say that we would be rather shocked at just how profound our presence has been. It isn't always the big things that leave an impact. It is, more often than not, the little everyday things that leave the lasting impression.
Unfortunately, most of us don't get to know how we have impacted others. Our impact is often only felt or expressed after we are gone.
It is pretty hard for most of us to really say what others have meant to us. We don't tend to tell each other the good stuff about each other. It can be awkward to express how we really feel - and sometimes even more awkward to hear. Being told that you have made a difference can be a bit daunting. We want to do the "aw, shucks -me?" routine.
We also tend to assume that the other person KNOWS that they are important to us and are loved - but that isn't always true. Sometimes we need to be reminded.
To be honest here, I've shed quite a few tears as I've been thinking about and writing this post. I keep thinking about all the "George Bailey's" in my life and how lonely and sad my world would be without them. Would I even still be here without them and how would that have effected the people I have touched? I'm not good at telling people how I really feel and tend to avoid or change the subject when conversations get sentimental. Mostly 'cause I'm a bit of a sap for sentiment and don't like to let people see me cry - even the good tears. Most of us don't like being that vulnerable.
So here is my idea. If you are anything like me, but still want to tell others how important they are to you - then send them a link to this post and say something like:
"I wanted to share this with the wonderful people in my life and say thank you for being one of my George Bailey's!"
Watch "it's A Wonderful Life" (1946)
To hear the 1947 Lux Radio Theatre production of "It's A Wonderful Life" (1:00:47), click here, then click on the mp3 link near the top of the page. You can also right click the mp3 link and hit "save target as" to download the 10.4mb audio file to your computer.