Karma and George Bailey

This I Believe

I believe in respecting the concept of karma and I believe in George Bailey. I always hold open the door for people at the store. I say please and thank you whenever I can. And I always try to tell the truth, no matter how tempting it is to lie. Because the way I see it, even if your life feels crappy now, all these good things you’ve done have given you good karma. And one day, that will turn into something great for you.

It seems stupid believing in the universe knowing whether or not you’ve been kind or mean to the people in your life or thinking that your actions will magically cause something amazing to happen to you. But I truly believe that’s how life works. You keep your head down and always do the right thing, even if it isn’t always the easy thing to do, and life will always give something good back. It could just be a thank you or a small smile from the person you helped or it could be something big.

If you’ve ever seen the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, you know George Bailey is the epitome of good karma. At only the age of 12, he jumps into an icy cold pond to save his younger brother from drowning and ends up losing hearing in his left ear for his heroic action. At the same age, he risks getting into major trouble with his boss, Mr. Gower, to save a sick kid from being killed by poison Gower accidentally put in the pills. All through his life, he sacrifices so many amazing opportunities to make the lives of people around him better. He doesn’t travel the world in order to fix the mess left after his father dies and gives up his college education in order to keep his family business open. He uses all of the money meant for his honeymoon to give to the people of Bedford Falls when the bank shuts down. And then when his uncle Billy misplaces $8,000, George goes to Mr. Potter saying that he lost the money so that Uncle Billy stays out of trouble. George’s kind actions ingrain a sense of community and charitableness in the hearts of those around him so when he struggles with these financial issues, they don’t hesitate to help him.

Every year at Christmas when my family watches It’s a Wonderful Life, I am always struck by one thing. Everyone is always so moved by how George Bailey acts but then we go out in the world and nastily shove past people in the store or ignore someone who kindly holds open the door for us. The words please and thank you become forgotten and more aggressive ones replace them. Truthfully, we all fall in love with George Bailey because of his selfless nature and acts of kindness but most of us act the exact opposite. In fact, most of us act just like Mr. Potter, just most of us without the wealth. We’re selfish, mean, and only do things when they will benefit us.

My goal in life is to live as a George Bailey. Whenever I see the chance to do the right thing, I try to do it. Sometimes it’s hard because I know it would be so much easier to just act like everyone else. To put on a nastier exterior and make a snappy comment at someone who makes me mad. But I know that one bad action will leave me full of guilt and worry about how my bad karma will get me back.

It’s hard to take something seriously when we can never know for sure if it’s real. But the way I see it, what’s the harm in believing in karma? If it is a real thing, then you’ve spent your whole life doing good things and great things will happen to you in return. And if it isn’t real, you’ll be known as a good person and your reputation will give you a sort of advantage with others. People will not wait to trust you or help you in a time of need when they know you’re kind and selfless.

I like to believe that karma is a real thing. If it is, I’d rather have spent my life doing all these things and get something good back. Karma would make the good people win in life. And even if it isn’t real, at least I would’ve spent my life being a better person. In a world where it’s so much easier to be a Mr. Potter, the true heroes are the people who take the high road. And those who make snide comments at those around them or walk right into the store instead of holding the door for the elderly woman behind them should take notes from the kinder people. Maybe they’ll see how jerky they come off to the rest of us and start getting some good karma for themselves. Because it can never hurt to be a little more like George Bailey.

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