Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Every Time A Bell Rings
I had a conversation with a man recently about holiday movies. He told me that his favorite Christmas movie was It's a Wonderful Life.
Now, full confession time, so you sentimentalists had better cover your ears. I watch that movie almost every year, and it annoys me each time. I mean seriously, the world would NOT be a more terrible place if George Bailey had never lived. Am I really supposed to worry that his little brother would have drowned by falling through the ice without George, when it is unlikely the little kid would have gone sledding at all at that age without a big brother? And if the pharmacist hadn't had George working as an errand boy, he might not have mixed up the medicine until he'd had time to grieve the loss of his son, and so the poisonous capsules might never have been made. And so what if Mr. Potter had taken over the bank and it got harder to buy a house -- didn't we end up there anyway? There was nothing particularly important about George's life, and it was silly of God (and Clarence the angel) to try to prove differently. And, of course, charming conversationalist that I am, that's exactly what I said.
Ah, the man responded. I can see why you wouldn't like the movie. But that's not what it's about at all. The point is, that George didn't have the life he wanted, sometimes because of his own bad decisions, and sometimes because of things outside his control. But when he finally opened his eyes and looked, he discovered that he still had so very much to be grateful for. It wasn't a wonderful life because he was important, or because of anything he'd done in the past. It was a wonderful life because he still, despite it all, had reason to be grateful. And so do we.
I've been thinking about it ever since. I can't wait to see the movie again. And every time a bell rings, I remind myself how lucky I am.