Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's A Wonderful Life

One of my favorite parts of Christmas, aside from amusing my wife and children with my well-intentioned but badly-executed attempts to gift wrap presents, is watching "It's A Wonderful Life". It aired last Sunday, but I resisted the temptation to watch the broadcast because we have it on DVD, so (in theory) I can view it at any time, along with the original "Miracle on 34th Street" (perhaps as a Fourth of July double-feature).

I was surprised to read when the movie was first released it was NOT hailed as a classic or celebrated for its art, but was seen more as a commercial and artistic failure. In the decades that have passed, as more of us have had an opportunity to look at its larger message and ponder the implications of the road not taken, the appeal of the movie has obviously grown and the perception of it has changed.

Christmas Eve can do that to you. When you examine your own life and think of all the choices you've made that have resulted in your being here to read this (or shake your head in dismay and move on to something else), you wonder how much is coincidence and how much is deliberate.

There were thousands of decisions that had to be made (or not made) in order for me and mine to reside in The Rose of Norwich. I cannot imagine how much my life has been enriched by those alongside of whom I've lived, with whom I've worked on all manner of citizen committees, agencies and boards.

I am who I am because of each and every person I have met on the path to here and now. I expect your story is very much the same. For some, knowing me has been more trial and error (emphasis on the latter) than either of us wish to admit. For others, a little contact goes a long way and absence makes the heart grow fonder (so they want to leave so they can like me). 

I lack the grace and style of Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey, though I've often tried to lasso the moon for the love of my life. I'm not sure I could stand up to Potter the way George did and that whole 'angel gets his wings' thing gets me confused. Child of the video age that I am, the first Clarence I knew growing up was a cross-eyed lion; sometimes the programs all get edited together, diffusing the meanings.

2014 has begun its final week—next Wednesday is New Year's Eve, I find myself, like you I would hope, looking forward to 2015 with confidence and not dread because of what we, individually and collectively, have triumphed over in the last fifty-one weeks. I hope in the days that remain of 2014 you and yours find a moment to look at where you are and how you got here and trials and tribulations to the contrary, to realize indeed, "
It's A Wonderful Life."
-bill kenny

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