December 4, 2015

"George Bailey Syndrome" for Parents

Remember the movie, It's a Wonderful Life! ?  Every year at Christmastime, I watch that movie.  I know it by heart, and yet I never tire of it and still love every minute of it.  And the older I get, I love it even more!


Because, as a parent, I think it's very easy for us to get, "George Bailey Syndrome."  And not just at Christmas.  We look like this.  We feel like this.  We look and feel like George Bailey.  Dr. Taylor Marshall articulates it well here:

By the end of the movie, however, I look and feel like this!  I look and feel like George Bailey again, this time infinitely more mindful of the mind-boggling blessing that God has given me in the form of my life.

Though my life has been easy, I'm not Pollyanna (...okay, close, but not completely).  Sometimes, life can be hard work.  And dirty.  And tiresome.  Watching this movie never fails to remind me, however, that each of us has a role in life, many roles in life, specific roles and jobs and tasks to fulfill, some of which we might not even be fully aware right now, and certainly not the ripple effects thereof.

Watching this movie reminds me that life is about people first, then things.

Watching this movie reminds me that, believing in each other, we can move mountains together, or at least whole families and towns.

Watching this movie reminds me that things can always be worse, so be grateful when they are better.

Watching this movie reminds me that there always is something more you can do for just one more person who comes into your life.

Watching this movie reminds me that faith is essential to our lives.

This last reminder is one of the most important.  Remember, to Whom does George cry out on the bridge?  To Whom does he appeal for a better life for himself, his family, and his friends?

Who made George?  God made him.

Why did God make him?

God made him (and you, and me, and everyone else) to know, love, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

So, why hasn't George learned this by now?

He's certainly lived it.  George has spent his entire life (which he views as wasted, at the time) in service to others, whether it's his parents, his father's community-serving business, the townspeople, his wife Mary, or his children.  Despite his determination to gallivant around the globe in a self-serving gluttony of travel and indulgence, George spends every day of his life -- every, single, day -- in service to others in his little hometown of Bedford Falls.

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.  (...oh, wait; that's for another post...)

Most of all, watching this movie reminds me that, ultimately, God always has our best interests in mind.  Always.  And that I've still got a lot to learn.

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