George Bailey's taken a trip to the very bottom of his life. He's smashed his beater into a tree stump, yelled his kids to the ground, and gotten tangled up in a knot that promises to end his job and threaten the livelihood of his town.
At the Bedford Falls bridge, he peers over into the gushing waters, searching for a permanent answer. Before Bailey makes another move, an angel named Clarence snatches the answer from him & shows him what life in Bedford Falls would be like without him.
My favorite movie line comes after Bailey returns. He has seen the love that hasn't been given. He has seen the life that hasn't been lived and the lives that haven't been touched. He has seen the joy that hasn't been shared. And when his good friend Bert meets him on the bridge and points out that his mouth is bleeding, his eyes light up and he laughs like a wild man.
My mouth's bleeding!
Which is to say, in some strange turn, that to feel life's pain is better than not to feel anything at all.
Which is to say, my life is like pizza: even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.
Which is to say, life is a sacrament, and it's better to show up to the table than not to come at all.
Which is to say, life is an avalanche of gifts, and if you'll step back for a second, you'll return to it somehow convinced that blood dripping from your mouth is a gift of shameless love.
I'd never say these things to you about your life, mostly because I don't have the guts to tell you to sing about your open wounds.
But I am saying, as I consider my own open wounds-- the events that have unfolded and the events that never took place at all, the words that can't be unsaid as well the words that should've been said years ago, times when my life has felt utterly numb and the times when I, too, am peering over the gushing waters--I am learning to say that my mouth is bleeding, and that is grace on its own.