Me - probably 15 or so.
My husband - probably 30 times...
This year, I saw it with a new filter - consistency.
I could write books about my husband, his love, and the way he always does the right thing. However, I could never express in writing all that is good about this man. On Christmas Eve this year, we were talking deeply, as we often do, about love, and what it means to love. He made a point to mention consistency. He believes that the consistency of our love makes a difference. It's best to have an even keel - a steady love, with no surprises. Instead of having drastic highs and lows, we are each receiving the love we are giving away - on a consistent basis. Every day we express our appreciation of the other person. Every day we show our gratitude for this life we have together.
"It's a Wonderful Life" is another constant in our home.
If you know the story, you know that Mary is the consistent one in her love for George. This year, I noticed how she loves George - without even knowing him - with the love I have had for Bob since I first met him. She HAS to be with him. (Remember, she was an "old maid" when we see what happens when George was never born...) But George... oh, George. He consistently wants more for himself and his family. This transfers to the Savings and Loan when his father dies and he takes on the burden of keeping the one thing in town that Potter can't get his hands on - away from the greedy man. He consistently wants more for the people in Bedford Falls. This year I noticed how the people of Bedford Falls LOVE George. He is always cheerful, optimistic, and helping those in need, whether he has the money or not. Mary helps him with this, even on the day they marry. She readily hands over their wedding money to George, as he hands it out to the townspeople (and they do their best to only ask for what they need - "$17.50...") I guess those two dollar bills they had left DID multiply in the safe, as George and Mary do fairly well for themselves and the town.
When Uncle Billy loses the $8000, George is distraught, and automatically accepts the responsibility for the loss. He, too grovels to Mr. Potter (oh, so vile!), is denied any help, and then says in a prayer, "I'm at the end of my rope." What does he get in answer to his prayer? A sock in the jaw by the teacher's husband. This year I noticed how Martini and Nick kicked out the teacher's husband and supported George the entire way - no questions asked. George was that good of a man. They knew him. They trusted his consistency.
Of course, Clarence (Angel Second Class) comes to help him when he's at his worst. I chuckle 'til I cry when their clothes are drying. Poor George - he knows that his guardian angel would look something like Clarence. Bonus for having a guardian angel without wings, even.
What struck me this year - the fear. George, once he sees that his house is still the old run-down house that Mary once loved, and sees that his brother Harry died because George wasn't there to save him, he becomes paranoid. He wants to see Mary. His true love. The person that makes his life worthwhile. The woman who bore his four children.
Clarence lets him know Mary is "an old maid," and is closing the library. (Of course she is - George was her one true love!) How can she not know him when he starts to follow her from the library? How can she be so scared of him? The fear that racks his brain is palpable. This year, I could feel the fear he had that his wife and children were gone from him. I could not imagine my love being taken from me like that, nor everything else that is a constant in my life. He runs back to the bridge as if his life depends on it - to pray for things to go back to the way they were. He pleads, "I want to live again. I want to live again."
As corny as people think it is, it suddenly begins snowing again, his lip is bleeding again, and Zuzu's petals are back in his pocket. Oh, the joy! The elation! The celebration! George loves that his car is stuck against the tree he hit, and he runs through town, recognizing everyone and everything that was consistent in his life - even the worst man in the world - Mr. Potter.
The tears come every year when he gets home and sees the warrant for his arrest, the top of the stair post that comes off in his hand, the love and hugs he gets from his children, and then the rapture when he is able to hold Mary once again...
Why was I affected so differently this year?
George always worked hard. For the right reasons. To help others.
My husband is like this.
I need to be more like this.
I already appreciate all I have in this wonderful life.
After watching this just one more time, I now appreciate everything that is consistent in my life. This includes the Mr. Potters in the world. If they weren't here, we wouldn't be who we are today.
Thank you, George Bailey, for showing me the way yet again.
Here's to 2016 - that we may be grateful for the opportunity that every moment brings us. Each day is handed to us - what we do with it is up to us. Love one another - with consistency - and be grateful for all you have.
You've read this far? You must be a fan of George, too.
Alas... I still can't stand Mr. Potter. I don't know anyone as bad as him, so I share this with you:
Photos used in this post are from Pixabay - no attribution needed.