This morning I was talking with some friends about the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, with James Stewart and Donna Reed. I remembered how the main character, George Bailey, had these big plans to make tons of money and travel the world. His girlfriend, Mary Hatch, even made this little embroidered picture of him throwing a lasso around the moon. The story goes on to show how his dreams kept getting interrupted and stomped on until he absolutely lost hope. Then along came Clarence, his guardian angel, to show him that the life he had, from God’s point of view, was quite wonderful. “None of what he wanted came to pass,” someone pointed out, “But all that he did made a positive impact on others without his even knowing it.”
As my friends and I sat around talking about it, we realized that we just don’t know what kind of impact we make on people. Even our failures may somehow be an inspiration to someone else. Or our neediness may give another person a sense of purpose as they reach out to help us.
George Bailey might have had a happier life earlier if he had heard what one of my friend’s said during the discussion. He said, “We aren’t supposed to pray for what we want. We are supposed to pray for what we are supposed to have.” (You may have to read that twice to get it.) George had what he was supposed to have all along.
If you haven’t seen the movie, check it out. And watch Mary. She knew the secret all along.