Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

How To Be Like George Bailey To Create A Better World

“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?” ~It’s a Wonderful Life

wonderful attitude life

The magic of the holidays brings hope and warmth to the world. People are truly blessed if they are able to enjoy the beauty of the season .Yet right at this moment, around the world and here at home, there is terror and violence, intolerance and fear mongering.

Anyone who knows me knows me knows that one of my favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s so “Capraesque.”

wonderful Attitude Life

The first time I saw the movie was with my dad during an unusual sleepless night. In our large den we sat on our couch, switched off the lights and turned on The Late, Late Show. The magic began with the first scene as we watched George Bailey see how his life touched so many others, and how different Bedford Falls would have been without him.

His family and friends cared deeply about him, working tirelessly to help in his time of need. It was a perfect movie with a timeless message.

It was the Utopia of my dreams.

 “You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.” ~It’s a Wonderful Life

wonderful Attitude Life

The message of “It’s a Wonderful Life” still holds true today. We have many blessings in our lives despite illness, loss or financial woes. I said it before and I’ll say it again:

“There is more right with you than wrong.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

This time of year is the perfect time to count our blessings. Write them down. Say them out loud. Consider what the world would have been like without you.

I’ll go first: I’m an “oops” baby (sorry Mom and Dad for the big reveal but thanks for the oops) so my parents would not have had a daughter. My son would never have been born. My cats may not have been rescued. People with MS would not have had me as their advocate. You would not be reading An Empowered Spirit.

What are your blessings?

Mine are hugging my husband, chatting with my son, spending time with my extended family, socializing with my girlfriends, taking short walks, doing gentle yoga, using my voice through my writing, playing with my cats, smelling my peonies, reveling in the changes of seasons, listening to good music, enjoying art, theater and movies. Phew!

“Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends.” ~”It’s a Wonderful Life”

But there is still a lot of heartache in the world. What can we do about it?

When I attended Hebrew School I learned from classic rabbinic literature about “tikkun olam” (world repair), “tzedakah” (charitable giving) and gemilut hasadim (acts of kindness).

These three ideas -world repair, charitable giving and acts of kindness – remain important to me because giving to others is the noblest of all gestures. We have a social responsibility we all should assume; to care for those in need.

Save one life and you save the world.

This holiday season take time to be grateful for your blessings while giving the gift of time or money to those who need it most. You may or may not know them but they are out there and a part of our community – the world community.

Let’s reach out to them so, like George Bailey, we can all be the “richest men in town.”

Happy Holidays. May you have peace, joy and good health always.

What are you grateful for? Leave a comment because I’d really love to know.  

A few charities to consider over the holidays. All are top-rated via CharityWatch.org:

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
African Wildlife Foundation
PetSmart Charities
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Children’s Defense Fund
Christopher Reeve Foundation
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

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44 thoughts on “How To Be Like George Bailey To Create A Better World

  1. Cathy Sikorski

    Oh CAthy Squared I’m so happy you’re here and I know you! I’m blessed in a million ways. To think what life may have held without me here seems weirdly selfies but as a caregiver I know that’s why I was here. And I shudder to think that someone may not have picked up the ball. It is a wonderful life indeed. The best of the holidays to you and yours. (((((Hugs)))).
    Cathy Sikorski recently posted…A Christmas Story……….My Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      You are a (faraway) blessing to me, Lisa. I know we are cut from the same cloth so I’m not surprised you enjoyed this. Merry, Merry Christmas, y’all. (Thats not easy for a Jersey Girl to say and sound right!) xo

  2. bonnie aldinger

    Lovely post. I think I first watched this movie when I was visiting my folks for the holidays one year in college – it was one of 2 videocassettes they had on the TV cart one day when they were off doing something and I was hanging out at their house. The other one was Some Like It Hot. Smallest home video library of all time but two great movies, right?

    Best best wishes for the New Year!
    bonnie aldinger recently posted…NYC Holiday Windows Part 3 – Tiffany’s and Berfdorf Goodman – saved the best for last!My Profile

  3. Stacia Friedman

    Goerge Bailey couldn’t create a better world until he hit bottom. That’s something we need to remember at this time of year when not everyone in our family or neighborhood is filled with joy (or a positive bank balance). Christmas shouldn’t be about celebrating abundance, but about sharing what we have with those who have not. Just like George!

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Actually that’s the point, Stacia. George gave of himself to so many despite their background or problems. George was community minded, never thinking of only himself.That’s why George was given another chance and why his neighbors gave back. And, of course, it is not all about abundance, as I wrote, but about being grateful for the little things in our lives. George Bailey did create a better world, just as we can do, simply by being himself.

  4. Corrine Leslie

    Beautifully composed proving that the best “things” in life aren’t things at all. I like your choice of charitable organizations and we try to give locally, too. Food pantries, employment training programs, work clothes for low income women, area youth programs that keep kids engaged…the list is a near as one’s local newspaper.

  5. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    A lovely reminder that life is indeed wonderful, with more good than bad. Thank you! You are one of the many blessings in my life. Glad your parents had an oops!

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman

    It is such a great movie with a timeless message. You are a blessing in my life, dear Cathy. I’m glad Mom and Dad had an “oops!”

  7. Risa

    Like you, I can recite every line from this movie. Thanks for the thoughtful post and the reminder. And Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight!!

  8. Doreen McGettigan

    I cannot wait to watch It’s A Wonderful Life tomorrow night, it is a tradition in our family.
    I am grateful and blessed to have so many friends, especially you and I hope your New Year is bright and blessed.

  9. Elaine Plummer

    I am grateful that I have blessing in abundance and enjoy the beauty of the day at the beginning and end, despite the challenges. Thank you for the reminder Cathy!

  10. Kit Minden

    George Bailey learned that he was part of a community and that the community was there for him when he could not rescue himself. It’s such an important concept!

    So glad to be part of your community and to have you as part of mine!

  11. janet tancredi

    I believe that one of the gifts that a woman can have is being able to give life to another human being. I will be forever grateful my entire life that I was able to do so. I believe it is truly a gift. Not every woman can bear children. Although, some may not wish to anyway. Everyone makes their own decision. Again, I am grateful I was able to give life! Too many of us take things for granted in this world. In whatever way I can, I like to try to give back. Children and animals are some of my favorite ways to express this. However, I like giving clothes, food, or anything I can to those in need.

  12. Cathy Lawdanski

    Love this, Cathy! We can all make a difference each and every day. Love the idea of world repair, charitable giving & acts of kindness.

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