There’s a scene at the end of Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” in which George Bailey’s daughter Zuzu comments, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” If you have never perched in front of the tv watching this Christmas classic, a depressed George Bailey played by Jimmy Stewart gets the opportunity to observe another version of reality, one in which he never existed. The angel Clarence guides him to recognize no man is a failure if he has friends.
I suspect at one time or another, during particularly stressful or lonely moments, most of us has had a George Bailey moment. We wonder what would have transpired had we never taken our first breath or perhaps if we had chosen a different path. Of course, we can’t turn back time. The optimist in each of us tries to extract some positive gain from even the worst of experiences.
If you’ve overstayed your welcome in a painful marriage or relationship, you have no doubt suffered numerous Bailey moments. I only hope you had a Clarence to help you through your sadness.
Throughout my own tortured marriage and even after, I became a closet crier. Driving in the car, sunglasses on, crying is a great stress relief. Stress and disappointment are pretty constant companions when you’re single, scrambling to make enough money, and much closer to AARP than high school. We fear we’ll spend the rest of our days alone, without love or passion. Are you crying yet?
The strangest thing happened to me tonight when I felt a crying jag coming on. (And this is not the first time it’s happened, either.) As soon as I felt a few teardrops roll down my face, my Bluetooth rang, this century’s version of the bells.
On the line was a friend I had met towards the end of my marriage. I was pulled from my Bailey moment as he engaged me in conversation about a writing project he thought I might find interesting. We spent some time catching up and confirming plans to meet in a couple weeks. I felt a tremendous relief. I suspect my friend may be my Clarence. He has a knack for calling at just the right moment and I always feel much better.
So, here’s to my friend. I think he has earned those wings.