Earlier this week, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time. I actually owned a VHS copy of the movie at one point, but never got around to watching it. Now I think I know why: I wasn’t ready to hear – or believe – its message.
I admit to having some issues with the film’s structure – blame it on studying screenwriting and being an avid film watcher. The back story on George Bailey took way too long and I wanted to choke Uncle Billy. Didn’t George’s father know it’s rarely a good idea to go into business with family members, especially one as daft as Billy? Shouldn’t the string tied around nearly every damn finger be your first clue that this guy should not be allowed to handle money?
What required no suspension of disbelief, however, was the message of not being a failure if you have friends. I have learned the truth of that lesson over the last two years – more than any other time in my life. Starting in December 2006 through now, I have struggled with some heavy issues: being fired, having a boyfriend who turned out to be absolutely horrible, having my car repo’ed, finding a job only to be laid off less than a year later, losing my grandfather and my mom in the same year.
But in 2006 I started making friends for real…and I continued to make friends in 2007. Anyone who’s lived in a major metropolitan area for any length of time knows how difficult it can be to meet people and make friends. If it wasn’t for T-Wizzle encouraging me to join Meetup, I would have never met my current circle of friends – and I wouldn’t know the blessing that comes from being part of such a warm, loving community.
Over the last two years these friendships have grown stronger, even when I thought I wasn’t being the best friend I could be. These are the people who have risen up to meet me where I am at, in ways I did not expect. When I have felt lost, they have found me. When I have felt down, they have lifted me up. When I needed to sit and be sad, they let me do that. And when I was being an absolute pill, they forced me to buck up.
It took a visit from an angel to teach George Bailey the value of his community, but it took me a couple hours with a classic film to fully appreciate my amazing friends.
And if you’re reading this, yes, I’m talking about you.