When bored or daydreaming during a lecture, most people doodle little pictures in the margins of their papers. I can’t draw anything (even my stick figures are bad), so I’ve always written in the margins instead. This means I make lists.
Usually, it’s lists of all the major league baseball teams, organized by league and division, or lists of all the stops on the 6 train that I rode in New York this summer. But the most common list is my favorite movies.
I’ll make a list of all the favorites I can think of, then whiddle the list down to 10. A lot of movies make it in every time, but a certain film goes straight to the #1 spot before any others are added.
This movie is perfect. There is not a single thing about it that makes you say, “oh, I wish they’d done this.” You don’t want anyone in the leading role besides Jimmy Stewart. You don’t even want Mr. Potter to change his ways. No. It’s perfect.
Why do I love this movie so much? Because every little detail in the first part proves important in the second part. Because Jimmy Stewart is adorable. Because there’s a swimming pool underneath the gym floor. Because Harry saved the life of every man on that transport. Because George Bailey, I’ll love you ’til the day I die.
Maybe I love it so much because I see a little bit of my own aspirations in George’s. He wants to do something really amazing and meaningful in his life, but feels trapped. I’m hardly comparing my own “challenges” to those that George faces in the movie, but I certainly identify with his fear that, as everyone around him moves on to bigger and better things, he’ll never be able to rise out of his current circumstances. Who hasn’t heard that voice asking, “will I ever amount to anything?”
The movie reminds me that maybe what I want to happen in my life isn’t what will happen – but that everything will play out perfectly in the end.