With the holiday season nearly upon us, it’s time to look back and see how great the year has been.
For me, it is tinged with many personal struggles, but through all of these, there have been some great moments. Getting a group of Scouts through their top awards is always a major achievement, as is being shortlisted for national awards, and attending your graduation in somewhere as grand as Ely Cathedral.
I think that the one thing that has been wonderful this year is that I have started to realise my place in this world and my true potential. Not only that, I have done it with the help of some true friends. This included those that I have not spoken to for a long time and thought I had lost touch with.
What did it for me? Why did I suddenly reach this point? Falling dreadfully ill puts things into perspective and when it seems the world is against you, you’ll be surprised how many people are rooting for you. You realise who you can actually trust and who are the ones who just aren’t worth it, but for me, a great turning point as I came out of the ‘dark side’ was the opportunity to perform as George Bailey in an on-stage radio adaptation of the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Frank Capra.
I had never seen the film, or even heard of it, before rehearsals were due to start and finding a version online to watch is like finding that elusive gift for someone that doesn’t actually exist. Throughout rehearsals, and even during the show, I was still not at my best, but the storyline, loosely based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, rung home, and one line in particular did it. I’ll try not to throw a spoiler in, but just in case, skim over the next bit if you want.
When the guardian angel talks to a desperate George who wants to end his life as he feels he has ruined everyone else’s, he is reminded of all the good he has done and how if it wasn’t for him, everyone else’s live’s could have ended so much differently…for the worse.
‘Strange, isn’t it, George? How one man’s life can touch so many others? You know, you really had a wonderful life.’
It was that sentence that jolted me into realising that no matter how bad I felt things were for me, life had been pretty great and there was so much more I could still give. One of the best things was being able to feel myself again at the end of the show. I’d been to hell and back in a handcart, to steal a phrase, but even on the road to recovery I was able to give a performance that allowed me to draw on emotions I myself had experienced, but also prompt one of the best responses ever from an audience member, who came to shake my hand several times at the end of the show.
‘I have seen so many professional shows over the years, but your performance was amazing. No professional has ever drawn on my emotions so much to the point that I have cried. Well done.’
A complete stranger had been moved by my performance, and I wasn’t even at full health. I felt a darn sight better though after this comment.
I’ve still been unable to watch the film in its entirety, and it was on the TV the other day, and no doubt will be on again, as it is one of the most popular Christmas films of all time (apparently). Nevertheless, when I think things are pretty rubbish, I remember those friends and family who really care for me, I look back on those I have helped, and I look forward to what great things are still to come in the future.
At this time of year, forget the gifts and spending money. Don’t worry about the things that went wrong in the past year, but look at everything that went well and be grateful that they did. And after all that, if you still cannot find many good things about the past year, don’t worry. Look forward and consider how you can make more good moments for yourself and loved ones, and most of all, take time to rest and show love to others as well as yourself.
Seasons greetings and a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate.