When I was 9 or 10, I asked my Mother to teach me to cross stitch. She did and gave me a little project to work on over the Thanksgiving break. I was almost finished with my project by the end of the week. I so vividly remember working on it when a movie came on the television. The movie was black and white, and I was completely mesmerized by the voice of the leading man: James Stewart.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” was making its yearly appearance on our television screens and I was enchanted. Who doesn’t love a story of someone leading a quiet simple life making good and right decisions, falling down on his luck, and finally being surprised by the sheer number of people his simple life had influenced? It quickly became my all-time favorite Christmas movie. I looked forward to watching it each year during the holiday season, and I eventually came to own my own copy.
A few years ago, our local movie theatre played classic Christmas movies on the big screen. I was so excited when I learned one of the movies would be “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I texted my Mother after I had found out, and told her I wanted us to go together.
We arrived at the theatre, bought our tickets and popcorn, and went inside. I was surprised to find we were the only people there. But, that didn’t bother me at all. I was so excited! And, I was not disappointed. Watching my favorite movie on the big screen was all I had wanted, and more. It was amazing how many details I noticed that I had never seen before, although I had watched it countless times. And it was made even more special to share it with my Mother, who had introduced it to me so many years before.
And this memory is even more valuable to me now that she is gone. Before her illness, my Mother did EVERYTHING with me. We shopped together, and she accompanied me to doctor’s appointments both for myself and my kids. She was my constant companion in those days before she became ill. And, this outing, to the best of my recollection, is the last one we had in which she was not ill.
It is not lost on me that George Bailey’s story could have been that of my Mother. She was quiet and unassuming. She was shy, but worked hard and lived her life making good and right decisions. She cared for others far more than she cared for herself. She loved well. And, although she never had the experience of wishing she had never been born, and being shown how life would be without her in it, she definitely would have been surprised to see just how many her simple, quiet life had touched. At her celebration of life, over 100 people came to honor her memory. While that may not sound like many people, it would have been a shock to her.
But it wasn’t a surprise to me. I knew that her quiet, peaceful spirit had affected everyone who came in contact with her. It affected her family, it affected her friends, and it affected the friends of her family.
Regardless of how many or how few people you have in your life, you will affect other people.
*** In the comments, tell me….***
When you are gone, how will your life have affected others?
Would you be shocked to see how many or how few people have been affected by your life?
What do you hope will be your legacy?