At the very end of the holiday classic, Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey is toasted by his brother as being “the richest man in town.” His wealth wasn’t measured in dollars, in fact, he’d never needed money more. Instead, when the bottom fell out of George’s life, people from all over rushed to help him. He was rich in friends who cared for him when he most needed it.
Nearly every day throughout this year, I’ve been reminded that one of the best lessons of all to learn is that I’m one of the richest people around. I simply could not have made it without the love, care, friendship, and support of so many.
If it weren’t for the overwhelmingly generous hearts and spirits of so many people, my life would be like the dismal scenes in It’s a Wonderful Life, the ones Clarence the angel takes George through. Only, in my case, those scenes represent what my life would be like without the presence of George Bailey-like people who demonstrated their care in every imaginable way.
There are a great many people severely impacted by the Great Recession. I am but one. Imagine living without a paying job and regular income for 18 months, and being without money for a year, and living without a home for six months. I have looked to God to meet every single need and he has used many wonderful people to provide for them all.
While people have been lovingly generous with their money, all have given far more without giving a cent. They have stood with me, in good times and bad. They called; sent cards; wrote emails; invited me to breakfasts, lunches, and dinners; walked with me around the botanic gardens; provided encouragement; and were at the ready with listening ears. They have been, above all, gracious.
That moment in It’s a Wonderful Life when people bring in their money and put it in a basket before George you see a spectrum of emotions, from a confused “what is all this?” to a look of being overwhelmed that gives way to a smile of sheer joyous gratitude. That’s me, too, feeling amazed, overwhelmed, and grateful.
I owe a debt of gratitude to so many, but this year I’m especially thankful for and grateful to: Annette, Barbara, Becky, Beth, Bob, Bruce, Cheryl, Chris, Cleo, Dave, Deborah, Debra, Diane, Donna, Glenn, Jamie, Jeff, Jennifer, John, Julie, Kathy, Karen, Kay, Laura, Lesley, Makayla, Margaret, Marguerite, Mark, Marsh, Marshall, Melodye, Mimi, Nancy, Nylene, Randy, Rob, Roger, Scott, Shana, Susan, Tara, Tim, Tricia, and Vickie.
All of you have taught me what it means to be a woman rich in love, care, and friendship. Thank you. Thank you all!
This is the second part in a series of blog posts about lessons learned throughout the past year. Next up? Lessons of faith.