Friends Gratitude Love

This Really Is a Wonderful Life

It’s been an amazing year.

So many wonderful, dreams-come-true events have happened, but none of it would matter if I weren’t surrounded by loving friends and family.

I am not a rich man by any accounting measure. But, as Clarence the angel writes to George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Remember no man is a failure who has friends.” By that measure, I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.

As this is the season of love and light and hope, I thought I would share some of what makes me rich in love. Mine is a blessed and wonderful life for which I am so very grateful.

Scene 1
A husband and wife hold hands, sitting together on new furniture. It’s been 18 years since they last bought furniture and they have worked hard to transform their living room into the vision she sees in her head. He trusts that vision with all his heart. They stop working, arrested by the beauty of twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, and soak in a brief moment of tranquility before she heads off to bed. They kiss and exchange words of love.

Scene 2: Two friends, close as brothers, lean in to each other at a bar. They haven’t seen much of each other lately, but pick up where they left off. They talk solemnly about their respective health issues, and laugh deeply about the latest smart phone app addiction. Their conversation is peppered with words of affirmation; they part with a hug and words of love.

Scene 3: A brother and his sister, shoulder to shoulder at a restaurant table. Family breakfast time at a restaurant. They chat quietly, discussing challenges resulting from the difficulties of life. She has done considerable work to overcome her issues. He expresses his pride in the work she’s done.

Scene 4: Two friends who connected in their cancer support group hold hands and speak softly. She is in hospice care at home, her body slowly succumbing to the cancer inside her. Their conversation includes abrupt laughter over shared memories followed by brief periods of silence. They thank each other for the ability to share humor in the face of so much that is dark and exchange words of love. As he leaves, he knows this will be the last time he sees her on this side.

Scene 5: Fourteen and then 15 people at a long table in a restaurant. Connected by church membership, brought together by friendship and love. The conversation meanders from the health of a mutual friend to plans for Christmas to an epic theater adventure and so much more. Copious laughter fills the restaurant. There is much love here.

That’s just the short list and doesn’t include hallway walk-and-talks, phone calls, notes to and from family and friends, affirming social media posts and so much more.

My hope is that everyone reading this post finds the love and joy in their lives this holiday season. People matter more than things, so if you have friends and family whom you love, you’re doing pretty darn well. Remember that.

Merry Christmas!

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