Monday, October 17, 2011

I Do Understand

For Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Dead Poet's Society, one of my favorite Robin Williams' movies, the character Mr. Keating has his students look closely at old photographs that are displayed in the hallway near his classroom. As the boys are studying the faces, Mr. Keating suggests that the boys in the photographs of long ago, boys who are now "dust", have a message to offer to the current students. Mr. Keating then whispers, "Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary". The exercise is just the beginning of Mr. Keating's teachings of the importance of looking inside oneself to live fully, richly, and passionately. The American classic play, Our Town by Thornton Wilder also speaks to the idea of “Carpe Diem”, the Latin phrase meaning “Seize the Day”. In Act Three of his play, the main character Emily comes to realize that the seemingly insignificant happenings of our daily lives are actually the most important ones. In Act Three, Emily, now dead and in a cemetery, is revisiting a day in her life when she turns to a fellow character who has also passed away and says about the living, “They don’t understand, do they?” It is a moving scene that speaks to how rare it is that we human beings stop to realize this truth of full awareness of life’s preciousness at the moment we are enmeshed in experiencing “the everyday”. Perhaps this rarity is why I am so often moved by poetry, literature, art, and films which remind me of this truth. It is vastly important to me that I take time to taste how wonderfully delicious life can be, even on a most ordinary day.

Today was a near perfect day in my book. It began with a much too early wake-up call when Ziva kissed my nose at 7:00am, but I will not complain as it extended the day. Within the next hour Emma, Paul, and the puppy had all jumped into our bed. My husband grumbled something about not having enough room but one of the children simply reminded him that today was Saturday. It’s a pretty regular routine to have a full bed on Saturday mornings. Snuggling and laughing with everyone in the house is a pretty great way to begin a weekend.

After everyone went off to grab breakfast, I took time to enjoy my solitude. I caught up on emails and Facebook status updates then jumped in the shower. I felt the warmth of the hot water and I took time to look outside into my backyard where my favorite adirondack chairs are perched near the woods. My husband ran Emma to play practice and I eventually made my way downstairs. The house was quiet. I puttered around the kitchen, made myself breakfast and caught up on a television show or two that had been taped during the previous week.

Around 1:30pm Eric, Paul, Ziva, and I jumped into the van to head to Paul’s soccer game. It was a beautiful day to be outside and the afternoon was made even more exciting when Paul scored two goals and did an awesome job as goalie for awhile. I took in Paul’s face as he played with his friends against the other team which was also made up of his close friends. How excited he’d been to play his friends. I smiled. He was in his element and that was thrilling to watch. Ziva and I were visited by Scout and his owner Mr. Clement and the two dogs happily played with one another while we proud parents stood and compared notes on puppyhood. It’s been so nice to have a puppy help me in my own relationships with people in my town. I find I come out of my shell more naturally when the focus can be on my puppy.

The game ended and Paul made his way over to ask for permission to head off to a friend’s house. Eric and I returned home, said hello to Emma who had arrived home from play practice then checked movie times. Within 30 minutes we were on our way to see a matinee. Sure, I’d have been happy to stay at home for the rest of the day but I knew it’d been awhile since Eric and I had gone out to see a movie together. We enjoyed the movie then went shopping next door. I found three dresses at a discount price and a sweater too. Oh how I love fashion. We found a few Halloween decorations as well and a jacket for Eric. It was a successful trip! I am sure that shopping isn’t one of Eric’s favorite escapades but it was so gracious of him to let me scour the aisles for a deal.

Before heading back home we stopped for dinner. We took time to catch up and enjoyed one another’s company before Emma called with a request to get picked up early from the football game. She and her best friend were cold. We finished dinner, drove back home and found Emma and her friend Savannah chilled at the field’s entrance. We got them inside, cranked up the heat, and headed home. Paul would arrive home too within the hour and soon we’d all be safe and sound and warm.

I headed to bed and thought back on my day with my family. It truly had been a great day, full of those small moments that make life so gratifying. I am grateful to this blog, to this daily writing and reflection I am making time to do. I am striving to fully understand and to appreciate the “seemingly insignificant happenings” of my daily life, how they all play a part in who I am, what I treasure, what I have left to do for others in this world. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to appreciate all that I have. Mr. Williams, thank you for bringing the role of Mr. Keating to life. I will continue to share this movie with my students. Mr. Wilder, thank you for your poignant play. It moves me each time I see it. And Emily? I do much as I possibly can...

1 comment:

  1. It is the simple moments of
    everyday life that makes
    life so very special. Thanks
    for reminding us.