While walking my dog in the woods nearby, I stopped to marvel at a giant fallen oak. Uprooted from the ground, it was hard to surmise what had toppled this mammoth tree. I was full of wonder at the extensive roots laid bare for all to examine the many connections severed.  Feelings of both loss and hope filled me as I was reminded that soon that tree would decompose with its nutrients revitalizing the soil that it would soon become part of.

Earlier in the week, I was excited to watch, with my children for their first time, the holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  It is one of my favorite movies of all time (I’ve written about it previously here and here.)

Viewing it with new eyes, anticipating the reactions of my three girls, I was surprised to see how dark much of the movie is. George Bailey’s entire story appears to be of one of sacrifice and loss.

His ongoing frustrations of opportunity lost are palpable and his descent into potential ruin severe. His contributions are invisible to himself until the very end when his own “roots” and connections are revealed just as his life was nearly toppled over.  

As the credits rolled, I asked my girls what they thought. They said they liked it and when pressed to say what they most appreciated, there was a surprising consistency.  Independently, each said how much they liked when the community came together to create the “honeymoon” for George and Mary Bailey. 

In case you don’t remember the scene, George had just given all of their honeymoon money to his Savings & Loan customers to stave off a run on the bank. Coming home late to the dilapidated house that would be their eventual home, he now found it temporarily “transformed” into a makeshift luxury hotel.  Replete with posters of places George longed to go but would never visit.  

It was heartening to see the natural attraction to community and the making of lemonade out of lemons. A recipe they themselves have had to make so many times during this year. 

A fallen tree, a fallen man. Two stories that reveal our many connections and the regenerative nature of life.

In that spirit, thanks to all of you who have listened to or shared my new podcast, Attribution. Your comments and support are so greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Sign up here to receive Moving Up Mondays

Receive our weekly email, delivering inspiration and perspective every Monday morning.