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The Stuff That Counts

By Dian Vujovich

I got home from a holiday party the other night and flipped on TV. Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” was on. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that Christmas movie but can tell you that every time I do I cry.

When I tuned in, George Bailey (the movie’s good guy) was contemplating suicide because his building and loan business had gone under thanks to the actions of ugly Mr. Potter (the bad guy). And Clarence A-S-2, (Clarence, an Angel Second Class, the movie’s savior), was attempting to do two things: Earn his angel wings and teach George about his worth as a human being.

Here are a few lines from that movie’s script:

“CLARENCE: I haven’t won my wings yet. That’s why I’m an angel Second Class.

GEORGE: I don’t know whether I like it very much being seen around with
an angel without any wings.

CLARENCE: Oh, I’ve got to earn them, and you’ll help me, won’t you?

GEORGE: (humoring him) Sure, sure. How?

CLARENCE: By letting me help you.

GEORGE: Only one way you can help me. You don’t happen to have eight-
thousand bucks on you?

CLARENCE: Oh, no, no. We don’t use money in Heaven.

GEORGE: Oh, that’s right, I keep forgetting. Comes in pretty handy down here, bub.

CLARENCE: Oh, tut, tut, tut.

GEORGE: I found it out a little late. I’m worth more dead than alive.

CLARENCE: Now look, you mustn’t talk like that. I won’t get my wings with that attitude. You just don’t know all that you’ve done. If it
hadn’t been for you . . .”

GEORGE (interrupts): Yeah, if it hadn’t been for me, everybody’d be a lot better off. My wife, and my kids and my friends…”

This segment of the classic 1946 script is timeless for a number of reasons. A few of the most obvious: People have had money problems ever since money has been used as a medium of exchange for goods and services; swindlers and crooks have been around for as long as money has been; people often confuse their individual self-worth with the amount of money they have or don’t have; and perhaps most importantly, there’s always help around for anyone in peril provided they can open up to it.

Now that we are well into the 12 days of Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa my wish for you is to always remember that your individual value isn’t measured in ten’s, hundred’s or even trillions of dollars. Or by what’s accumulated in your brokerage and trust accounts or insurance policies.

Yes it takes money to live but the truly wealthiest people are those who can make you smile in good, bad or trying times; are there when you need them no matter what time of day or night you call; are generous in spirit as well as in giving; have a kind word to say no matter how miserable the world may appear; and know that time together is often the most precious gift we can give to one another.

All of which won’t cost you a penny but may earn you a pair of wings. Happy Holidays.


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