My all-time favorite movie is Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. While it may be set in upstate New York during the Christmas season, George Bailey’s holiday struggle is something many people face year round. I usually cry at some point in the film. It depends on the year, how I’m feeling and where I’m at in life. But, I always come back to the one line that changed the entire course for George, “I wish I’d never been born.”
We all have ups and downs. Some days are better than others. And there are those that have had to be talked down from the bridge more than once. We’ve all had people like Mr. Potter in our life. Those that are selfish enough to do whatever it takes to eliminate those of us who truly care about integrity and honesty. And, yes, we all probably even have our own version of Uncle Billy. Those family members you love and support despite their faults.
You could go through every character in the movie from Ma to Harry to even Annie and we all know someone who can relate. But for most of us battling depression, we can relate to George. How you go on with life – being social and laughing and loving – even though inside you feel you’re missing something or it’s all just gotten to be too much. I could use a Clarence in my life.
I don’t consider myself someone that has thousands of friends. I have one best friend, and she’s been with me through everything. Sometimes I feel like a failure. Sometimes I feel there’s nothing going right in my life. Some days I wonder if some of you are my Clarence. It seems that I always get words of encouragement from people out of the blue or read something I needed to hear.
It took an angel without wings to show George what the world would be like without him. No Harry receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor, no houses in Bailey Park to help people get out of Mr. Potter’s slums and Mr. Gower would be in jail. It wasn’t until George saw the world without him that he realized how much he actually meant to people. He spent his entire life putting others first, going about his life day-to-day and fighting to make his community better through the building and loan. It wasn’t until George stood on the bridge ledge you realize how it all affected him. How are we wearing ourselves down by holding in it? By not taking care of ourselves at some point?
In the end, the community George had fought to save ended up saving him. Sometimes we need help, and we’re afraid to ask. Sometimes it takes others realizing it to set things in motion. My favorite line in the entire movie actually wasn’t spoken. It’s what Clarence wrote in the copy of Tom Sawyer he left for George.
No man is a failure who has friends.