Finding Hope in a Sequel

In one of my newsletters for writers, I created a sequel of my favorite holiday movie: It’s a Wonderful Life. Every year when I watch it several times, I wonder What happened to these characters after the movie?

So I created my own sequel and share my imaginary thoughts with you.

It’s a Wonderful Life – Part 2: After the debacle that almost destroyed the business, George Bailey gently convinces Uncle Billy to resign. It takes three weeks to clean out Uncle Billy’s office. George realizes how his uncle has regressed into a form of dementia.

Uncle Billy resigns, then volunteers at an animal shelter for the next five years. He quietly dies in his sleep, surrounded by his pets.

Mr. Potter is diagnosed with lung cancer and dies a few months later. No one in town mourns him and no one shows up for his expensive funeral. His loyal servant — who has no name in the original movie — tells George what happened to that missing $8000.

Reginald (the servant’s name) relates how Uncle Billy actually handed it to Mr. Potter, who then kept it and charged George with extortion. For his honesty, George gives Reginald a job at the Bailey Building and Loan, filling Uncle Billy’s position.

Harry Bailey becomes a U.S. Senator and visits his hometown often to hear about the concerns of its citizens. He remains a favorite citizen of Bedford Falls. They rename the high school Harry Bailey High.

George and Harry’s mother is hit by a runaway bus and dies instantly. The boys sell her house for a song to Violet Biggs who opens a home for unwed mothers.

George follows in his father’s footsteps and suffers a devastating stroke. He dies within the week and is mourned by the entire town. His funeral is attended by thousands from Bedford Falls and beyond.

George never forgot the lesson he learned from his guardian angel, Clarence, and was always grateful for his wonderful life.

Mary stays in the old house as the children grow up and leave. But Janie (the oldest daughter who is playing piano in the final scenes of the movie) returns after she earns her MBA at the Harvard School of business. She takes over at the Building and Loan and turns it into a major credit union with global investors.

Clarence earns his wings and becomes the chief guardian angel for George and Mary’s grandchildren.

Mary celebrates the births of nine grandchildren before she dies of tuberculosis at 96. As she fades away, she whispers the words, “George Bailey, I’ll love you ‘till the day I die.”

The town of Bedford Falls continues to thrive but always retains its small town charm. Bailey Park grows into a beautiful subdivision of homes that were designed and built by George Bailey who always wanted to do great things.

But George never fully realized he was accomplishing his greatest purpose by helping his fellow citizens keep a decent roof over their heads.

***

How many of us may be doing the great thing we were created for — but we don’t realize it. We think it should look different, feel more honorable or give us the acclaim and money we would like.

Like George Bailey, the greatest work of a lifetime is to make a difference in someone else’s life. To use our talents in creative designs and help others.

To love as God loves us — without judgment. Without assumptions. Without labels.

As we grow older, we begin to live the sequels of life. Let’s make it our goal to end well. Like George Bailey, to be rich with friendships based on respect. To build hope into our lives and into the lives of others.

Have a blessed Christmas.

©2022 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Hope-filled Arms

Several people I know, friends and family, are struggling with their arms. Because of chronic illnesses, they can no longer lift more than 10 pounds or even help themselves out of a chair. I grieve for their losses even as I admire their determination to stay in hope.arms - art

Arms are something I take for granted. But as I reflected on this blog post, I thought of several memories where arms left an impression.

My dad’s arms radiated his strength. With those arms, thick and muscular, he pulled calves out of their struggling mothers. He hefted hay bales and tossed them onto moving wagons. He swung at baseballs and sent them over the farthest fences.

When his strength diminished, his arms shook as he tried to feed himself. The skin began to sag as muscles atrophied and finally — all movement ceased except the shallow breaths that kept him alive, until even that capability was gone.

Arms of Strength.

The chubby arms of my toddler son reached toward me for hugs or night-time kisses. The first time I saw his face, I held him in my arms and marveled at the finished miracle of a nine-month creation.

Arms of Love.

My son’s arms grew from toddler stage to teenager. As he practiced and excelled at drums, the tendons in his arms rippled, then held trophies he won for his musical prowess.

Arms of Talent.

But my arms have also felt sadness. Last winter, I held my cat, Betsy, for our final goodbye. She trusted my arms, leaned in for what — I believe — she knew was coming. And when the final injection did its work, her dead weight relaxed with the pressure of finality.

Arms of Sorrow.

Scripture reminds us of another pair of arms, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27 TLB).

And an old hymn repeats the theme. Check it out. “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

We dream of the day in eternity when we will run into the arms of our loved ones, when our guardian angels remind us their arms were always near.

Arms of Security.

I am grateful for the strength in my arms — to pull weeds from stubborn perennial beds, to carry a pot of soup to the table, to guide my hands toward the computer keyboard, to move across the piano keys.

A day will likely come, if God grants me more years, when I may lose my arm strength, when I’ll have to depend on others for movement and the basics of living.

So for now — for this day — I whisper a prayer of gratitude and determine to stay in hope, no matter what happens to my arms.

©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

My arms have been busy on the keyboard. Check out my newest book: Write and Share Your Story