For those who enjoy the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Have you ever wondered about how Mary is portrayed in the alternate world in which George Bailey never existed? Bizarrely perhaps, she winds up an “old maid” – closing the library on Christmas Eve.
Wouldn’t she have married someone else and lived a great life? This essay examines that question, showing that Mary is the greatest hero in this story. Intentional, purposeful, and wise throughout, she makes George into the man he becomes. In his darkest moment, she’s what makes him want to live again. As she said in her childhood into his deaf ear: “George Bailey, I’ll love you ’til the day I die.”
1. It was Mary’s vision to live in that old, forsaken house. On their wedding day, it’s she that acquires it. She willingly gives out their honeymoon money to keep the Building and Loan business open.
2. It was Mary’s understandable displeasure in George that serves as the last straw, sending him into a suicidal tailspin.
3. Similarly, it was seeing Mary in the “no George” world that makes him finally realize his desperation and plead with God to live again.
George: Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence. Get me back. Get me back. I don’t care what happens to me. Only get me back to my wife and kids. Help me Clarence, please! Please! I want to live again.