“Each man’s life touches so many other lives,”
says Clarence Odbody, Guardian Angel.
“When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), the timeless, inspiring classic movie, directed by Frank Capra, illustrates how gratitude, the emotion of expressing appreciation for what one has, can give you a new perspective on life.
George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), a hardworking, savings and loan manager at his father’s bank, is from Bedford Falls, New York where he has spent his entire life helping others. He longed to travel, build skyscrapers and pursue his ambitions but felt he couldn’t for fear of Mr. Potter, a rich and greedy businessman, taking over the small town.
On Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses the bank’s $8,000 on his way to make a routine deposit. Mr. Potter finds the lost money and hides it from Billy. When George finds out what has happened, he becomes distressed realizing that he may go to jail and the bank may close too. In his despair, he decides to kill himself thinking that his wife and children would be better off without him.
Guardian Angel Clarence Odbody then appears from heaven to stop George from committing suicide. He does this by showing George what his life would have been like if he had never been born. For example, if George had not been born, a ship full of soldiers in World War II die because he was not there to save his war hero brother from drowning. These scenarios has George realize all his accomplishments and the undeniable impact his life has had on others.
This film’s greatest lesson comes at the end (see the video clip above) where George’s friends, family and the town’s people pour their hearts out with gratitude for all that George has done for them by rescuing him from financial trouble. George sees how much he has meant to so many people and how wonderful his life really is.
Do you realize how much you mean to the people in your life? Are you fully appreciative of all you have and what you’ve accomplished?