I left my parents’ house last night carrying armfuls of toilet paper rolls; three bottles of salad dressing; two chairs; and a steak. #freelance writer. #shameless. #rentsyourethegreatest.
Since #unemployment, these eyes haven’t seen the inside of a shopping mall. Since #freedom, daily trips to Starbucks were sacrificed to the chopping block. I’ve been good with my money, but tonight, I started feel uneasiness about my financial situation. But, before I traveled too far down the worry road, I had a bit of an aha! moment. The words of Souza came to mind:
“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.”
In the middle of Barnes & Noble, with a ziploc-ed steak in my purse, I began to think about all of the time of my life which was wasted on worry. All of the hours, sometimes days, I had spent tortured by anxiety over things that never happened. The particulars of the minutes I threw away to heartbreak, hangovers, or hating my job flooded back to me. And enough is enough.
Have you ever seen the 1946 Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life?” I really hope so. You would almost have to be Amish, or averse to happiness to have not seen this movie. But, for those of you who love “Daria” and still commute to work by way of horse and buggy, here is a brief synopsis of the plot:
On Christmas eve, George Bailey finds himself in deep trouble. His family is in a financial pit; and the bank he manages, The Building & Loan, is threatened with bankruptcy. In light of the foregoing, George considers committing suicide. As he stands on the railing of a bridge in his town, George calls out to God. “I wish I had never been born,” he cries.
Before George can jump, George’s guardian angel, Clarence, intervenes. Clarence grants George’s wish: he shows George a life in which George Bailey never existed. Clarence demonstrates to George how much of a difference he has made in the lives of others. In the end, George prays to live again.
At the end of the film, when George returns to his family, he does so with a spirit of pure joy. He reawakens to the beauty around him, and realizes that although his bank account might read $0.00, he is the richest man in town. His wonder for life is renewed. He is happy, simply, to be alive.
When each of us was born, we approached this world with a sense of wonder. We encountered everything for the first time, and so, couldn’t help but be amazed at everything. We felt happiness, with no strings attached, in our encounters with the pomp and circumstance of a Christmas tree; a melting ice cream cone; and all-day long trips to the beach.
Wonder, in the way its used here, means “to be filled with an admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel.” Which provokes a question: how often do you feel amazed?
When I think of wonder, I think of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.
Standing in front of the “Mona Lisa” comes to mind. I think of my first weeks surfing – the days when I got hooked.
But you do not need to try a new sport, book an international flight, or see the most famous painting in the world to excavate the jewels of wonder. Wonder is the every day. Wonder is my baby cousin laughing while he takes his first steps. Wonder is sitting in the ocean, watching formations of seagulls in blue skies above.
Now, when I’m tempted by the wiles of worry, I remember my patterns. There have been periods of my life which withered in the strength of negativity. Not unlike George Bailey, I couldn’t live in the moment, because I was too afraid of the future. But what I’m finding is: the more you stop, enjoy, and realize this moment will never pass again – that you can never do it over – the happier you will be. So I wish you a wonder-full day. Because it is.