I wrote this two Christmases ago, but the message rings true today:

On Christmas Eve, after we put the kids to bed and prepare for Santa’s arrival, my wife and I always watch It’s A Wonderful Life. The film is 75 years old but feels as relevant today as ever.

Last year, I came across this column online, talking about the movie in the age of COVID-19. It compares the isolation many of us feel to George Bailey’s inability to escape Bedford Falls and his responsibilities, even for a honeymoon. This year, I re-read the piece and found this section especially moving:

In George’s darkest hour, Mary, the quiet and even-tempered heroine, solicits the prayers of friends and family. She goes on to contact all of her husband’s friends and the people of Bedford Falls to chip in financially. Considering all George has done for them over the years, they don’t even hesitate. In a short amount of time, Mary raises more than triple the amount George needs to get out of his bind…

At the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George is surrounded by all of his loved ones. It’s an especially poignant scene during a time when such gatherings are largely nonexistent. But it reminded me of my own Bedford Falls — a community of people who have lifted me up again and again…

“No man is a failure who has friends,” Clarence says.

Wherever you are this week, whatever you are feeling, I hope you find that community of support around you. George felt alone and scared and broken, to the point of considering suicide – but his life mattered, just as yours does to all those around you.

And if you need help, reach out to one of those people, or a professional. Please don’t walk through a dark time alone. 

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 100 companies and more than 10,000 construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out icba.ca/wellness for details.