10.05.2010

"They don't understand, do they?"

I was talking with my wonderful sister on the phone today about living life.

Her explanation is to pack as many things into your life as possible. To see it all rather than miss anything. She said "This life is full of so many amazing things that I won't be able to experience once mortality is over. I want to experience it all!"

I used to feel this way too. In some ways, I agree. We have only one chance at life, shouldn't we make the most out of it? However, this is where I feel a line needs to be drawn. You see, life isn't only about the big moments. If we define living by the 'finish lines' we cross, then we are missing the point. We are missing the journey.

In the play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, a woman who is taken well before her time, pleads for one chance to go back to her life. Although the narrator warns her of the consequences she chooses to return anyway. It's her birthday (no monumental day in the scheme of her life) and she is slowly distraught by how we living beings brush over the minute details in our lives. Here is an excerpt from the play when she becomes so frustrated by how non-challant her mother is acting towards her, she decides to leave:

"Emily: I can't! I can't go on! (sobs a moment) It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed?
 Take me back- up the hill- to my grave. 
But first: Wait! One more look! 
Goodbye world! Goodbye Mama and Papa- Goodbye to clocks ticking- and my butternut tree! and Mama's sun flowers- and food and coffee- and new ironed dresses and hot baths- and sleeping and waking up! Oh earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you! Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it- every, every minute?

Stage Manager: (Quietly) No- Saints and poets maybe- they do some.
....
Emily: They don't understand- do they?
Mrs. Gibbs: No dear. They don't understand."

My point is, how easy is it to let our lives be defined by the big accomplishments? How often do we let them overshadow the true meaning of living? The sun flowers, the food and coffee- and new ironed dresses and hot baths and sleeping and waking! 

Please do not misunderstand; of course our Bucket Lists, goals, dreams and aspirations should be worked for and sought after. These accomplishments should be cherished and acknowledged. However, next time you wake up and take a deep breath, or smell bacon cooking on the stove, or feel the raindrops on your face; take a moment to pay homage to what you are experiencing. You, in that moment, are living.

3 comments :

  1. I totally understand! So many times people get caught up in the look at me, and what I've done... I hate it. It is the journey we have to celebrate. You said it much nice than I could have. (:

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  2. Yes, well said Courtney, as usual!

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  3. how come everyone takes your side :(

    just kidding!!

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