Watching the movie for the umpteenth time tonight, I noticed something that I hadn't seen before (a good movie always has something new to take away). When George Bailey, now grown up and married, is in his office at the Bailey Bros. Building & Loan, there is a sign below his father's picture. It says:
Isn't that rich? Really, it's part of the theme of the movie. George Bailey learns that his life mattered because he had given so much to others. And when he's in need, they are there to give back to him.
When I get to the point in the movie when the angel Clarence is going to grant George's wish to see what things would be like if he had never been born, I get anxious. Not for George, but for me. I have this fear that if I had that opportunity to see how the world would be if I had never been born that I would find out the world would be a better place.
Right now my wife is listening to a podcast TED Talk on "The Power of Vulnerability." So, being vulnerable, I'll share that I have insecurities. I don't feel I'm good enough. I have a desire (as do all of us) to be affirmed, to be needed. At some point in my life, I developed some insecurity in feeling not wanted/needed/good enough. I feel I haven't done that much in my life--that if my life hadn't happened, that the world might possibly be better and instead of worse off.
Now, in my brain I know this isn't true. I know that I've done things that matter (heck, I've brought wonderful kids into this world for one). But (and this is a theme with a lot of my struggles in life), my head doesn't always communicate with my heart well. What I know to be true, isn't always lived out the best.
But at the end of the movie, when Mary has gathered all the people whose lives have been affected by George and they come to rescue him, my eyes are getting watery because I do know that each life matters--that my life matters.
And though some days may suck and be extremely difficult to get through, I do believe that it's a wonderful life (sometimes my heart just needs my brain to remind it of that). And my life will have mattered because of what I've given away: my time, my talents, my gifts and my love.
May you know the wonderfulness and meaningfulness of your life as well.