a Wonderful Life by
Bailey was given a special gift. He had a chance to see how things might have
turned out if he had never been born.|
This fictional scenario is played
out in one of my favorite movies; Frank Capra's, "It's a Wonderful Life." The
main character, George (portrayed by Jimmy Stewart), is a likable young man who
would do anything for anybody. His main goal however, is to go out and see the
world, and get away from his hometown of Bedford Falls, New York.
seem to always prevent George from getting away and after he is wed to Mary (actress
Donna Reed), he becomes a father and is never able to leave Bedford Falls. As
the president of a little savings and loan company, he becomes content with helping
the local citizens get ahead in life. Most of George's time is spent fighting
the villain, old man Potter, who is trying to buy up everything in town in an
effort to keep the poor folks renting from him and living in his slums. |
The movie has a message and it's a good one at this special time of the year,
or anytime for that matter. Treat others as you would like to be treated - giving
is better than taking - there is a God and He loves us all. George Bailey soon
realized that all these things are true.
At the lowest point in his life,
when he is falsely accused of embezzling funds from the savings and loan, George
keeps wishing he had never been born. He decides to commit suicide by leaping
from a bridge. And he may have done so, had not God intervened and sent him an
angel by the name of Clarence. You see, Clarence jumped off the bridge before
George and the would-be suicide attempt was prevented. In fact, George jumped
in and saved Clarence.
The story goes that if Clarence could do a good
job of turning George's life around he could finally earn his angel wings. This
unlikely heavenly messenger, who claimed to be over 200 years old, showed George
Bailey what the world would have been like if he (Bailey) had never been born.
This is something that we should all ponder - what would the world be like, had
we never been born?
George found out that indeed his life did make a difference.
One of the many special moments in the film occurs when Clarence and George find
themselves at the local graveyard. One of the headstones has the name "Harry Bailey"
engraved on it - the age at death being around nine or ten years old.
George stares unbelievingly, at the headstone, because this was his little brother
and he knew he had saved Harry from drowning when Harry was about that age. It
seems Harry went on to be a fighter pilot in World War II. He shot down an enemy
plane just as it was about to attack a ship carrying some 1500 soldiers.
tenderhearted old angel reminded George that because he got his wish of never
being born, he wasn't around to save Harry. And because Harry had died, he wasn't
there to save the 1500 men from the attack and as a result they all perished.
I guess most people don't take the time to consider these things, but they are
so true. We are all important - every one of us! From the poorest to the richest
we all touch someone else's life. What we do or the things we say, no matter how
insignificant they may seem, can leave a lasting impression on others.
old movie, released during the Christmas holiday in 1946, made me aware of just
how much we all need one another. "It's a Wonderful Life" director Frank Capra
said it best: "Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't
around it leaves an awful hole."
our kids were little, it was a rule that this movie would be viewed at least once
during the holidays. It's a tradition that I hope they will pass on to their children.
The classic film will probably be on television sometime before Christmas
Eve. If you've never seen it, I encourage you to do so - it has a happy ending.
Star Diary >
6, 2006 Column