I started this blog two years ago. And two years later, today, we are in the same house, my husband is in the same job, our kids attend the same school. Everybody is fine, as always.
I stayed up too late watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night. I adore the movie. There’s tremendous comfort in the idea that each person makes a difference in the lives of those around him, that when you are helpful, people will in turn, help you, without hesitation. That each action begets a distinct reaction.
But there’s a lot of ego in the movie, too, which I guess can be necessary if you’re in a pit of despair and self-loathing, as George was. Consider George, who after learning that had he not been born his brother Harry wouldn’t have lived past the age of 9, demands Clarence take him to Mary, his true love. Mary’s fate was apparently worse than Harry’s, as Clarence says he can’t tell him about her. But he ultimately does: “She’s an old maid, George.” Worse yet, she has untamed eyebrows.
Yes, yes, I understand that Clarence (and his boss) were trying to show George that he matters. The alternative reality they shared with him was certainly not the only alternative. Was it? (Would nobody else have done anything to attempt to save Harry? Would Mary really have been so un-groomed and lonely?)
We each matter. We each have an impact. But we are each not indispensable.
If not George, who knows, maybe Uncle Billy would have sobered up and done what George did. Maybe Ma Bailey would have taken over the business and hired Mary. Maybe things would have been… dare I say it?
What would the little world I occupy right now have been like if we had moved two years ago?
It would have been fine. Maybe even finer.
Merry Christmas, and here’s to a very (humble and) Happy New Year.