Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” the other night reminded me of a couple of important points:
Bedford Falls is everybody’s Mayberry – a place where everyone knows your name. A place that stays safe and never changes. Until the day that annoying Uncle Billy loses $8000.00 and George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) faces the loss of his business.
First of all, we forget that idyllic small towns don’t offer many opportunities once a job is lost. Their resistance to change results in a town that hasn’t adapted and thus grown.
Secondly, every town has a Mr. Potter. Every job has that person that seems to be (and probably is) out to get you. To take you out. To make you look bad in meetings. We all have them, and that’s something we can’t change.
Third, everything we do has impact on somebody else. Just a George Bailey found out, one small change can make the future entirely different. I think that puts a huge responsibility on us to be more responsible with how we interact with others.
Fourth, no matter how much we try to freeze a perfect moment, a perfect family, or a perfect job, something changes. A relative marries somebody that becomes a thorn in the side of the perfect family, or the perfect job becomes the victim of a merger.
We need time to grieve for these things, just as George Bailey needed to wail and lash out a little. But then, we need to remind ourselves that how we handle the change will impact everything.
We’re not insignificant in this big old universe; every action we take helps form its future. And our resistance to change can stop an evolution that should occur to build a better vision of what could be.
So, don’t beat up Uncle Billy (although I want to every year). And don’t be surprised by a Mr. Potter (he’s out there). Simply say to yourself, “How do I handle this?” George’s wife, Mary (Donna Reed), went out and took action while George was thinking about jumping off a bridge. We need to all be more like her. Don’t lament, adapt. Take action.
And get out the tissues, because change sometimes makes you cry :).