Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Wonderful Parts: Part 3

Christmas Season 2011: Once again I popped in what has come to be my favorite movie of all times--It's a Wonderful Life. I watched it in 5 installments, usually while eating supper or filling out Christmas cards or fixing my hair. Each year the Capra classic teaches me something about my life (see "The Wonderful Parts I and II"). This year's lesson was a bit more subtle than those of the years before. I found it in that part where George leaves Harry's homecoming. Right before he goes to Mary's house, Ma Bailey is talking to George about how much Mary is in love with him. He resists the idea, and when wise old Ma pushes him in Mary's direction, he turns around and heads back toward the glit and glamour of downtown Bedford Falls, such as it is.
There he meets up with the person who has always been the exotic element in his life-- the capricious Violet Bick. When she sees him standing in the median, Violet prances up to George, as brazen and needy as when she sat on that stool in Gower's drugstore as a little girl and asked to be helped down. When she presents herself to George, he, in a fit of wanting what HE wanted, tries to share his dreams with her, tries to take her with him on an unpredictable trip up to the falls for the 'perfect scam.'
But she refuses. She doesn't want the unpredictable; no, flamboyant Violet wanted who she thought George was--stable and reliable. And as a crowd gathers around laughing at Violet's shrieking fit, George hurries off, telling her to "forget the whole thing." Only after he's disappointed by what he thought would bring him relief from the soul-coring effect of discontentment, does he 'happen' by Mary's house.
There Mary is waiting with the memories of George's spontaneity on that night after the dance, years ago, when they sang "Buffalo Gals" in bathrobes, and he lassoed the moon, and they threw wishes at windows, and he left her stranded in the hydrangea bushes.
It was the woman he thought was simple and plain, who reminded him of who he really was and helped him to indulge those wonderful traits about himself.
Once again, the movie reminded me that what we want is so frequently not what we need. It reminded me that God has given each of us our passions, our desires, our traits. There will always be people who reject us or discourage us from enjoying or fulfilling those passions. My lesson this year: surround myself with people who won't let me forget about the wonderful parts of myself.


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