I had the luxury of attending a high school performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life!” with my middle school students recently. Beyond the fact that it was a great way to help me continue to be in the Christmas spirit, it was also insightful. I haven’t watched this quintessential holiday movie since I was a kid, but I found myself feeling compelled to go home and watch the original. Watching it as an adult who has more life experiences really allowed me to grasp the full meaning of the film.
Who doesn’t feel like George Bailey at times in their lives? I know I have. When you are down and out on your luck and it feels as if everyone around you is experiencing windfalls of good fortune. Not that I am not genuinely happy when my friends and family have a spell of good luck or are awarded promotions, bonuses, etc. I am. But part of me always kind of wonders when my good karma is coming. Which is when I remind myself that someone that thinks they have good karma coming is rarely the type of person who actually does. Also, George does not seem one bit jealous that others are snapping up opportunities around him while he is stuck in Bedford Falls. Another point against me.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to experience the world around you as it would exist if you had never been born? I think it would be an interesting endeavor, although I am quite terrified of the fact that maybe it would be better for some people. Maybe my parents would not have had a shotgun wedding at age 19 while six months pregnant. They could have gone to college right out of high school and established themselves financially before having the responsibility of children. Or maybe they wouldn’t have married each other at all. It is actually quite frightening to think of the possibilities. We are all not as good of a person as George Bailey, who seemingly only had positive influences on people in his life.
The underlying theme that a person is not a failure as long as they have friends will always ring true. Thinking of my family and all the genuine friendships that I have established throughout my lifetime is enough to make me feel blessed beyond belief.
What makes you feel like it’s a wonderful life?