One of my favorite movies of all time is “It’s a Wonderful Life” with the late and great Jimmy Stewart. It’s about a man who’s life, due to circumstances beyond his control, never unfolds exactly how he had planned, but who still lives out his days with integrity and intent. One day, he loses a very large sum of money and is so distraught over it that he wishes he had never lived and decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge into the icy, winter waters below. As he’s about to jump, he hears a cry for help and instead of jumping in to die, he jumps in to save someone’s life. He pulls a man named Clarence out of the water and doesn’t realize it, but Clarence is sent from above to show him exactly what sort of an impact his life has had on those around him, and ultimately the World. This dramatic revelation compels him to wish for his life back. In the end, people from near and far come to his rescue in an immense act of gratitude for his selfless contributions, compassion and belief and faith in the people whose lives he has touched.
We often don’t think about the impact we have on the lives of others. It’s difficult to predict the amount of influence we have from what we say or do, but whether it’s something positive or negative, it will almost certainly reach far beyond the initial encounter. If we want our lives to turn out wonderful, we need only to live with the intent of making the lives of those we intersect better. All it takes is kindness, compassion, understanding and love. Always the perfect gift, they are free to give if you are willing to open your heart and they are most welcomed by an open heart when they are returned. So don’t wait for the holiday season to think about gift giving. Do it now and do it always because you will never feel bad about making someone else feel good.