It’s A Wonderful Life – A Lesson from the Bailey Family

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? “ – Clarence

Last night I watched It A Wonderful Life, for the first time.  I know, I know, how could that be?  Lover of all things Christmas, how could this piece of cinematography history escape me for so many years.  Add that I gravitate towards old movies, a huge Jimmy Stewart fan, and the fact that Frank Capra wrote the script at La Quinta Resort, one would think this would be the ideal holiday movie made for me, delivered  and wrapped up in a bow.  Yet as I sat in my living room, watching the life of George Bailey unfold, I couldn’t help but feel there was a reason I was viewing this movie for the first time.

Preparing for this holiday season, I have been overly vocal on how ready I am for the final chapter of 2019 to unfold.   The year, can be placed neatly up on a shelf, never to be relived again.  Swinging at curve balls, heartbreak, and obstacles I would have by no means imagined, 12 months of little joy.  At times, I had never felt more alone and sad, in my entire life.  Reflecting this the other night to Lilly and Kayla, they reminded me that not everyone had a horrible 2019.  Which I accept as a truth and commend you on a fabulous 365 days if that was your encounter with the year.  But for now and this blog, I am staying in my lane, and embracing my experience. Disclaimer, at no time did I stand on a hypothetical bridge and contemplate ending my existence.  I do believe I have a few guardian angels, yet none showed up to talk me through the low points. But watching Clarence in action, suggesting that George face life without his birth,  I did a pause to wonder what life would have been without Jacky Coon?

Sure like George, I have had dreams of travel, adventures, visions of life that never came to fruition.  Many times during my past 52 years I have thought why do I keep fighting this fight, why do I keep all the balls in the air, why do I struggle to make the world go round for so many?  Does anyone even notice, does it make a difference, honestly does one person appreciate the effort that I put forth?  Especially at the end of day when I struggle to see a step made forward, only the path increased in length.   So what would the world be today without me?

First and foremost the universe would be void of three pretty amazing human beings, Nolan, Kayla and Lilly Hildebrand.  I know I am impartial, but not only have they already made a mark in their young lives in endless ways, they will be leaders in their field.  They are compassionate, mindful, big picture thinkers, that give back way more than they ever receive.  Being their mom, is my greatest accomplishment.  They alone validates my existence, yet  I wanted to dig a little deeper.

I haven’t saved any lives or created homes for those in need like George Bailey, but I have introduced countless people to their current careers and passions.  I reflect on the 1,000s of students that have crossed my path.  Did my teachings, or better yet, my “Jackyisms” leave a lasting mark on a choice or direction in their lives?  My friends have often told me that I am the one that sees things differently, helps solve the question at hand and creates moments in life like no one else.  And finally would Brandy and Tisha enjoy the finest bubbles without my input, or would they have been left to a life of boxed wine?  Oh the shame.

All kidding aside, It’s a Wonderful Life did hit a soft spot within me with George Bailey’s story, but the person who captured my whole heart was Mary Bailey.  Mary was a believer.  From the moment as a little girl when she whispers in George’s ear, “George Bailey, I’ll love you ’til the day I die.”, from her wish of owning the old house, until the very last scene, she unconditionally believed.  Her belief was unending, never showing a sign of disappointment or disappear.  From the kindness in her face to the pureness to her presence, Mary defined the true meaning of the holiday season.

Today, we have so many people who worry (and sometimes argue) what to spend on gifts,  which traditions are politically correct, what is a proper holiday greeting, the reason for the season, the word holiday vs Christmas, the talking points are endless.  My theory is pretty simple, the true meaning of this time of year is to remind us all to believe.

From the spiritual story to the power of self-visualization (like conveyed in the Secret), the underlying message is to believe.  Gratitude journals have taken over many people’s night stands.  Isn’t being grateful a form of belief?  Focusing on the positive, creating a vision board or placing your life in God’s hands, all these techniques require a core belief system.  And even the notion of the jolly fat man in the red suit, is just another reminder that believing is a skill that needs to be embraced and nurtured.

Photo Dec 15, 4 07 55 PMMy Christmas List for 2019 isn’t full of gifts found on Amazon Prime, but what I believe.

Dear Santa –

This year please help me strengthen the following beliefs:

1 – I believe I am a great mom.  Maybe not in the Pinterest inspired, PTO President, bake perfect cookies for the classroom type of way.  But I have taught my kids to be independent, the ability to try new things, have a sense of adventure and to love deeply and unfiltered.

2 – I believe I am a writer.  I don’t need a published book to prove this anymore, I have my blog.  Each sentence strengthens my talent and heightens my craft.

3 – I believe I am a strong woman with a tender heart.  Yes I can slay dragons and tackle any obstacle that comes my way.  But that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t full of life and feels love, compassion and hope.

4 – I believe in God, and trust he has a hand in my journey.  I also believe in myself and that I help create my own destiny.  For example, he gave us the ocean and the beach, but my walks (like today) inspire me to find that next level of myself.

5 – I believe that 2020 isn’t just a new year or the start of another decade, but the beginning of the rest of my life.  The future is mine to write, life shifted this year and cleared the script I had been believing was my ever after.  I believe this is an opportunity for even a greater story.  And I believe without Jacky Coon there would be many holes in this world.

George and Mary Bailey, represent the two sides in all of us.  Your “George” side works hard, tries to do good by others, and sometimes gets down by the lack of progress in spite of an unending, authentic attempt. Dreams then become lost. And like George, you have to dust yourself off, hug the ones you love and step back into the game of life.

Then you have “Mary’s” voice in your heart, with a deep smile and a never ending belief in all that is good and possible.  May this holiday season you embrace your inner Mary. Take the time to stop (maybe even daily) and feel gratitude.  Throw something out to the God or the universe (the choice is yours) and let faith give you the greatest gift of all, the ability to believe.

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