It's A Wonderful Life (1939) rings beautiful inspiration

Photo Credit: It's a Wonderful Life / RKO Radio Pictures
George Bailey is the type of character so many of us start out as: born with an insatiable curiosity and hope to leave a big mark on the world. For Bailey, the last thing he wants is to be tied to the crummy nowhere town of Bedford Falls. I could and still empathize with this, wanting to leave my small town life behind when I was growing up.


Almost every event in his life takes Bailey where he doesn't want to go. While his younger brother and all of Bailey's friends make a life outside of their town, Bailey is chained to his deceased father's Building and Loan. Falling in love with a girl Mary, Bailey goes on to live and work in Bedford Falls building a life he hadn't dreamed of.

So many words ring beautifully true in this film:  
Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends. 

A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town. 

Bailey only gets to see the impact of his life when he's about to commit suicide and an angel saves his life. Clarence shows Bailey what Bedford Falls would have turned into if he hadn't lived.

The banks' undeniable power would have corrupted Bedford Falls. His brother Harry would've died from drowning and not gone on to be a war hero. Bailey's beloved Mary grows up to be an old maid. And a graveyard replaces the land where his proper homes would have been filled with his fellow neighbors.

Returning from oblivion, Bailey realizes every action he made had a ripple effect. And, in his desire for living a life more worth, he forgot about how much worth his life made to his family and the community. Heartbreaking yet spiritually uplifting, It's A Wonderful Life is a lesson of missed hopes.

I've had an idea of where I should go and what I should do, as I'm sure so many of us have. Our big plans are lost when different priorities take hold. Our decisions might not be the ones we want to make. We go with the flow of with our place in life, unaware of how our decisions and actions can be good for those in and outside of our close circles.

Today, society and the media defines success as achieving more wealth or materialistic things. "If you don't have more paper dollars and silver coins, you're falling behind the curve of being significant."

Often times, especially during Christmastime, our months of being with loved ones is converted into hunting for the latest prizes to showcase our love. It's A Wonderful Life, with its mixture of lighthearted and dark moments, always reminds me to live in the acknowledgment of what can't be found in a safe or wallet: friendship, community, and love. And, no matter how different our lives turn out from our dreams, everything we do has an impact someplace somewhere for someone.

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