Saturday, December 26, 2015
Turning the channels on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas day can be an unrewarding endeavor. The channels are dedicated to a great deal of silliness, infomercials and repeats of news stories seen over and over again.
As luck would have it, though, I tuned onto a film that, yes, I have seen many times before but this time I looked upon it with different, perhaps, more mature eyes. To be honest, there are times when I have not been happy with my life, not happy with the difficulties of aging, losing so many I love and surely not happy I contracted a malady at 5 years of age which no one in this nation, thankfully, need suffer from again. I am glad for them, of course, but honesty must be spoken as I admit I wish I were born a mere six months after a vaccine for my malady was produced. When I kvetch (Yiddish for complain) about it I was told by one wise person in my life that I really should view James Stewart over again as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" and that it might teach me the essence of what is so valuable about my own life. On Christmas Eve “It’s a Wonderful Life" was shown again.
The film speaks to people – really most people – whether one is a believer in a supreme being or not. George Bailey, ready for suicide as his life’s events spin out of his control and is ready to jump off a bridge into icy waters below. Ultimately, he is shown by Clarence, his guardian angel, why he should not cease to exist and what life would have been like had he never existed at all; had he not even been born.
George Bailey's life, despite its overwhelmingly disastrous turn of events, counts. Yes, disbelief must be suspended but if one does suspend it the film teaches us that lesson. Most all lives count because in each life a person touches others in good ways one might never have imagined. The metaphor of a pebble thrown into a lake creating ripples far off from its point of origin is apropos. It says you mean something and you change lives – hopefully for the better – simply by your existence.
“It's a Wonderful Life” is a wonderful timeless film that has a message, I think, for many of us whether we get the things in life we wanted, and most especially, if we do not.