Day 31: Squander

verb – allow (an opportunity) to pass or be lost

Thirty-one days of posts. Thirty-one days of word gift related information. And thirty-one chances to tell someone how much we love them in unique ways. Did you take that chance or did you squander it?

Our days are spent in a whirlwind of activity. We constantly look forward to a day when life will slow down, the kids will take care of themselves, our jobs will be less demanding, our commitments less rigorous. In a week, or a month, or maybe next year, life will slow down, and we’ll have time to accomplish those meaningful things we often dream about. Let’s be honest, those days aren’t coming. Life will always be busy and occupied with the next obligation until time is gone.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the play by Thornton Wilder entitled Our Town.  It is at the top of my list for life-changing and powerful literature. The final monologue by the main character Emily is given from her gravesite (she dies in childbirth in the play.) She’s gone back to her home town for one last look. Take a moment and read the following lines from the play. (If you’d like to watch it, check out this clip.)

Excerpt from Thorton’s Our Town

Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama! Wally’s dead, too. His appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember? But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s really look at one another!…I can’t. I can’t go on.It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back — up the hill — to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute?

Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some.

Emily: I’m ready to go back.

So many profound lines in such a short monologue, but such a perfect ending to understanding why word gifts are so important. Giving a word gift allows us to “really look at one another,” and understand that “it all goes so fast.” The simple act of writing a word gift allows us to realize how wonderful life is (and the people in it) “every, every minute.” Even better, the word gift recipient understands that we really see them and value them.  And as for the writer we find ourselves among the saints and poets if only for a moment.

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