“Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.”
Mrs. Gibbs to Emily in Our Town
We are ages away
from our high school class
where first we walked
the streets of Grover’s Corners
and have lived decades and
decades of important days
writing our own scenes
along the way. In this theater
we meet again the lives of people
as ordinary and extraordinary
as we are and find ourselves
smiling and weeping watching
a play we first encountered as teens.
In our 70’s Our Town brings us joy
and also breaks our hearts.
Now we know.
~Edwin Romond “Seeing “Our Town” in Our 70’s”
We don’t have time to look at one another.
I didn’t realize.
All that was going on in life and we never noticed.
Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.
Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?
– every, every minute?
~Thornton Wilder, from Emily’s monologue in Our Town
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. 14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.
Ecclesiastes 3: 11-14
One of our very special friends from church got married today to a high school classmate she knew over sixty-some years ago. Both had recently lost spouses and found their way to each other to join together for the rest of their days. Today became a most important day in their lives, a day they could not have imagined as teenagers so long ago.
The post-ceremony reception was joyous, full of other high school classmates who recognized how extraordinary it was for two lives to come full circle after all the ordinary “least important” days of high school. Observing this tight-knit community celebrating together reminds me of Grover’s Corners of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” where even those in the cemetery under the ground continue to engage in conversation and commentary about their family and friends, sometimes wistful, sometimes full of regrets.
There is so much we miss while we are living out our ordinary days because our capacity for seeing what is truly important is so limited – if we paid attention to it all, we would be overwhelmed and exhausted.
Yet God’s unlimited vision has a plan for each of us, even if we cannot see it in the moment – His divine gift to us, right from our very beginning, until the moment we take our last breath.
This year’s Barnstorming Lenten theme is taken from 2 Corinthians 4: 18:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.