Truly, It’s a Wonderful Life

Your life makes a difference more than you can possibly comprehend.

(photo: Public Domain)

This is the time of year when we all love to sit and watch the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The premise in the movie is a visit from an angel to an ordinary man, George Bailey. His ability to earn his angel wings depends on keeping George from taking his life in a moment of despair. He does this by showing him what life is like if he didn’t exist.

Take a few minutes now and do the same thing. Close your eyes and stop to think what life would be like if you didn’t exist.

Start with your spouse and children. They wouldn’t be in your life because you have no life. If your children are married and have children – they too wouldn’t be here because you are not here.

Think back on your working career. How many people did you come in contact in your career? How many children did you touch in the span of your life either through association with your own children or because of your job? If you did not exist, they would not have had the opportunity to be experienced by you.

Maybe you can think back at a time when you went to a restaurant or a movie and talked to someone with encouraging words at a time when they truly needed it. Sometimes we are not even aware that the simplest of “thank you’s” or recognition is the right thing needed to make an impact on someone else. Maybe you helped someone deal with a loss of a spouse or a child and made a difference in their ability to cope with their tragedy. If you didn’t exist, that kindness would be absent from all those people you touched.

Growing up, I learned about an “It’s a Wonderful Life” story told to me by my mother.

In 1949, my mother became pregnant shortly after giving birth to her fifth child, my sister Mary. My father had lost his job and my brother was diagnosed with polio. After a trip to the doctor she learned she was pregnant with her sixth child; however, she also learned she was carrying this child breech. She was told this pregnancy would become extremely difficult and could lead to serious consequences either for her or her child. One or both might not survive. (This was a time when cesarean sections were not available for pregnant women.) Her doctor recommended that she end the pregnancy.

She was overwhelmed with so many difficulties in her life. Her faith was being tested more than any other time in her life. A visit to the Poor Clare Sisters asking for advice and prayers changed her life. She met with the Sisters and they listened to her story. They committed to praying for her. They told her God would not want her pregnancy terminated because every child has a chance for life. This was all she needed to hear.

I was born July 26, 1950, at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Omaha, after 40 minutes of labor. I had turned in her womb days before she gave birth. In her words, I was the easiest child she had. She named me Catherine Clare. She went on to have three more children. My father even found employment, thanks to the help of the Sisters, and my brother’s polio was completely cured after two years.

When she told this story to me, she wanted me to understand the importance of prayer and faith. But I see this story a little more personal.

If I had not been bor,n my children would not have been here. Their children would not be here. My husband repeatedly says he would not be alive if it weren’t for my continuous strength in making the decisions to help him through his many illnesses. My husband turns 75 next week. In looking back, he is probably accurate in his assessment.

I have had a long career and have participated in training with so many in helping with their other careers. To date, I have had 140 articles published this past four years. I know from the responses that they have touched a number of people.

In short, I am very grateful for the advice my mother received from the Poor Clare Sisters.

I heard something profound recently that resonated with me. I heard about a grandmother saying to her grandchild who had been injured in an accidental shooting, “Remember, you are part of a puzzle, and that puzzle wouldn’t be complete if you weren’t in it.”

Every life makes a difference. We are all connected. This Christmas, never forget that it truly is a wonderful life!