We Are The Ones Living Life
A few nights ago, Tim and I were watching a show on Netflix. It is rare that my Norse-man likes to sit down and watch television so I gobbled up the opportunity to snuggle next to him. The show unfolds in the 19th century when pioneers were making inroads out West. I see these early pioneers as strong and fearless, treading territories most would be afraid to tackle.
Back then, the only way those on the East Coast could find out what was happening on the West Coast was through telegraph or the newspaper. The newspaper, something fewer and fewer of us subscribe to in today’s culture, was extremely important.
The reporter in this particular episode was trying to gather some information from the lead character to include in her newspaper story. She was hoping to gather some sensationalism, perhaps a bit of gossip.
When she asked Bohannon (the protagonist) a question for the paper, his response struck me deep.
“It’s not a story, lady. It’s my life.”
It’s my life. Not a story.
Perhaps we have it wrong in our twenty-first century. We are constantly reading each other’s “stories” and being told that we have our own story to tell. Is it possible we have reversed the order of how it is to be? Too often we forget it’s our life we are living, not a story.
We celebrate birthdays, phone in hand so we can post the pictures instantly on Instagram.
We venture to the mountains for a retreat, yet remain attached to our Facebook feed.
We overshare online, creating little sacred space to share between us and God alone.
We live our lives too distracted to really be in the moment.
How often do we play into the idea that our life is a story for others to read, rather than realizing that we are the ones living life?
Real life is not what we portray online.
Real life happens each morning when I overcook Tim's eggs. It unfolds as I drop another pile of laundry on the floor. It seeps into the fabric of the soiled sheets while potty-training our littles.
We are the ones living life. How easy it is to forget this. Too often we escape reality in hours of mindless television watching, more engrossed in what happens in the next episode than taking time to read aloud a bedtime story to our children. We follow our heros online more than we take the time to pick up the phone and call our own parents. We have lost the art of paying attention to those closest in our lives.
Susan Schaeffer Macaulay was on to this years ago when she wrote,
“The art of giving attention to each other is being lost as our eyes click onto yet another video that is all too like the last one. Gazing into the fire, enjoying a back rub, or resting and listening to music while stroking the loved one’s hair--that is the sort of thing I mean. You can see where such evenings take the married couple--happily off to bed a bit on the early side!”
Might our marriages find more fulfillment if we took the time to really see our mates. If we reached out with affection, when least expected. If we stopped running around to the next thing, and sat down on the front porch and listened to what our loves have to say.
“Life can actually be simple and sweet, even in our rushing age that smells too often of diesel fuel. Let us slow down a bit! We’re not programmed to have to choose to waste our time looking at or playing at ‘virtual’ life rather than investing ourselves in flesh-and-blood relationships! It is our real life that matters.”
Let us not forget to realize the value of our own home in everyday life. The beauty of those living right underneath our noses. It’s my life, not a story. We are the ones living life, and it is glorious.