Ask most people how they are doing and the typical response is a barely audible mutter, “I’m OK.” or “Don’t ask.” or “Do you really want to know?”
What I want to know is why are so many of us dissatisfied? With microwave ovens, cellphones, central heat, air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpet, the Internet, two-car garages, color televisions, and food in the pantry, we certainly can’t claim that life is just OK because we don’t have enough. We have more than enough. So that can’t be the reason we mutter, “I’m OK” or “Don’t ask” or “Do you really want to know?”
There certainly is enough entertainment surrounding us to keep us from being dissatisfied. In most communities we can eat a foot-long hotdog, a Quarter-Pounder, fish, Italian, American, Mexican, or Chinese and not travel 10 miles from home. If we choose, we can go to a movie or rent a movie, play golf or tennis, watch a football game, ride a bike or go for a hike. There is more than enough to do, so that can’t be the reason we mutter, “I’m OK” or “Don’t ask” or “Do you really want to know?”
There certainly is plenty of opportunity to work to keep us from being dissatisfied. Our newspaper is filled with opportunities for us to make a decent living. And even if we’re not satisfied with what is available in conjunction with our training, then we can go back to school, earn another degree and get the job that we really want.
There is more than enough opportunity for us to work, so that can’t be the reason we mutter, “I’m OK” or “Don’t ask” or “Do you really want to know?”
In Thornton Wilder’s wonderful play “Our Town” the main character, Emily, lives out her life responding “I’m OK.” or “Don’t ask.” or “Do you really want to know?” and discovers too late the singular joy of just being alive. After her death, Emily is allowed to watch herself relive one day of her life. She is warned that she will not enjoy what she experiences. Nevertheless, she embraces the opportunity and chooses to relive her 12th birthday. However, seeing the way her family members take each other for granted and live with so little passion is so painful for her that she finally pleads to be delivered from it all.
Looking back on her family and her life one last time, Emily cries out, “Good-bye, good-bye, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners ... Mama and Papa. Good-bye two clocks ticking ... and Mama’s sunflowers; and food and coffee; and even ironed dresses and hot baths ... and sleeping and waking up. Oh, Earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
She stops, hesitates, and then, with tears in her eyes, asks the audience, “Do any human beings realize life while they live it? — every minute?”
Determine today to live this day with zest. Seek to be thankful for this day. Live this day fully. Live this day intensely. Live this day with passion. Live this day with joy. Recognize the many, many reason to celebrate the gift of life.
Refuse to let the moments slip by but rather truly live life with thanksgiving, knowing that there can be so much more to life than “I’m OK.” or “Don’t ask.” or “Do you really want to know?”