The family long since gone to bed, despite protest amongst excited, yet sleepy little eyes, I had one of thoses moments that imprints itself into your very soul. The tree was lit with tiny white fairy lights, presents stacked high, piles like I have never seen, the house otherwise dark, save the few candles left glowing softly. Richard and I sat rapt, intently watching the end of the perrenial favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life, viewing this classic master piece has crept in as tradition some where along the years. Some how I have come to relish the cathartic tears I shed each time, and I suppose Richard has as well. The culmination of my anxieties disolved entirely as the credits rolled, I felt peaceful, and safe as Richard and I did nothing to stem the flow of tears, we merely exchanged a knowing glance, one of exceptance and understanding.
Not to brake such a glorious spell, we sat quietly for a few moments amongst the soft glow of Christmas lights. I silently pondered the profound affect this film has each time I view it, how I have come to rely on it each year to freshen my perspective and dispell any pity me attitude I may have lingering at the time, the much needed attitude adjustment if you will. Now more than ever I was so very appreciative for the emotional release, as if it allowed me the chance to shed some sort of grey shroud and really see things clearly. We began to speak of the message in this film, of how without knowing it, we touch and shape others lives, hopefully for the most part, in a positive sense.
This got me to thinking of how in so many ways peaople have done this wonderous thing for me, and how I pray I have in some way done that for others. Be it those that are an important facet of my life, or those random, chance moments with strangers, we give and receive bits of kindness, so often without effort. This brought on a lovely, meandering conversation, sharing our ghosts of human kindness past, and present. Now was a proper time to tell the wonderful and weird Richard Harlow of how he has impacted our family and along the way, became family.
The sentimental pang brought about by faithful George Bailey gave way to a shared moment, an understanding and the opportunity to grasp hold of why we were all here together this Christmas Eve. To hold these things dear, and to honor them by not allowing them to slip by unnoticed. It is not for all that lay brightly wrapped beneath the tree, no, not at all. It is for those who right now lay tightly wrapped beneath blankets, sleeping soundly in other rooms, how I love them so.
And in the hours to come, when little hands and voices urge me from sleep, begging for Christmas to start, when the chaos insues and the frantic fevered pitch of children over take this serenity, I will be happy. Mom and I will exchange knowing glances and grins, Richard will be amused and sleepy thinking whirling dervishes have invaded and Rob and I will warmly retell stories of our childhood Christmas mornings. Perhaps one of the children will fall asleep amongst a sea of wrapping paper, tightly clutching some cherished treasure Santa brought, who knows. One thing I am certain of, this, what I am feeling right now, I will keep close to me till days end, and beyond if that is possible. And though it won’t always be the case, perhaps I can keep in mind how a random smile, a kind word, or act, can shift anothers perspective, and even if for just a moment, that they be the better for it, I know I will.
I looked at the clock and realize that it is now Christmas, and it is a wonderful life.