This year, there can be little doubt that we've seen the worst side of people. I'm quite certain that people have seen the worst side of me. It's been a year of trials (to put it mildly). We've lost much since March of 2020, and there's a chance we may get none of it back.
We seem to have been living in the harshest moments of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We seem to be walking in the shoes of George Bailey, stumbling through the snow, trying to understand what's happening.
As much as we've experienced, as much as we've lost, and as much as we've been pressed to the point of near insanity by forces beyond our control, it should be noted what we've not lost. What we've not lost is precisely what Bailey never lost: his family and friends.
It's utterly obvious that whatever help to be extended by political figures has come in such small amounts and has come so late, and has come from a group so disconnected with everyday people, we practically wish to shove it back in their faces. The American government has so completely turned its back on its own people that it's as if Bailey’s wish of having never been born had actually come true for all of us.
Bailey, while experiencing a sense of anonymity with the world, was reminded how important he was to his friends and family. You're so very important, too. You're part of the building blocks of your community. If you're not around, what good is the community? Truly, a city, a town, a community is only as good as its people. If a person loses their sense of importance, if they lose their way in the chaos and strife (few years have provided so much), it affects not only that person, but also their community as well. And what makes up this community? It's family and friends. It's what makes life worthwhile. You have people who rely on you, who love you, and want you in their life. No matter what the Henry F. Potter’s of the world say or do.
On the other side of that coin, George Bailey was reminded how important family and friends were to him. Understand that none of us were meant to be an island. An island is an island for one reason: It's lonely. If we so choose to be alone, we do so at our own peril, especially in times like these. If there ever was a time to gather friends and family in close, it's now. Not just for the Christmas season, but for the time moving forward.
We often state that we wish things were slower, that people were kinder, and that life wasn’t so corporate. It can only happen with you and me. So make life go slower. Be kinder. Be less corporate (enjoy a coffee somewhere other than a Starbucks).
More than likely, none of us will meet our Clarence until our departure from this earth, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be someone’s guardian angel. God knows we need more of them. There may soon come a time that you'll call upon yours (it may be a friend or a family member) or you may be called upon. You must be ready to make that call or answer it. It does require a change of heart, from the prickly and angry and downtrodden version of George Bailey taking his frustrations out on his family, to the grateful and loving and humble version embracing his family and friends with tears and laughter.
Understanding that the unfeeling and ruthless Potters of this world (be they government officials or corporations) have little to nothing to offer in the realm of what's most important. I hope that we all take this Christmas season to spend time with those who mean the most, and even do what Bailey did: pray. More importantly, do what his family did, and pray for the George Baileys in your life. This 2020, there are a lot of them. Let people see the best side of you. I promise to do my best to do the same.
“Remember no man is a failure who has friends.” Merry Christmas.