WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST ALIVE?
On Sunday, I shared with the congregation about one of my favorite quotes, which comes from the character Emily in Thornton Wilder’s well know play Our Town. Emily dies as a young woman while giving birth to her child. In the afterlife, she has plenty of time to reflect on the meaning of life and the importance of her family and friends; she misses them all immensely. And so she asks permission to go back home, to return from the dead and spend just one more day with her family. Her permission is granted, and she is able to be with her family for just one day, although they will not be able to see her or know she is there. She shows up back home with high hopes…but she is deeply disappointed. As she observes her family, she realizes that they are all just going through the motions, hardly taking the time to even look at one another, much less connect with each other in meaningful ways.
And she asks this question: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?”
“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” Or do we spend most of our lives just going through the motions? Hardly ever taking the time to even look at each other? Hardly ever connecting on a deeper level?
I thought about that question as I read Sunday’s Gospel lesson, that people might have eternal life if they believe in Jesus. John’s Gospel tells us that this is why Jesus came to the world: that people might have eternal life.
“Eternal life” I thought! As I read that this week, I thought, “What about quality of life?” “What about life here on earth while we live it?” (The only life we really know!) “What about life with more love…more joy…more meaning?” “What about ‘realizing life while we live it,’” in the words of Emily in the play Our Town?
As I was thinking about these questions, there was another question that kept popping into my head: When do I feel most alive?
Here are some of the things I came up with:
- I feel most alive when I have a sense of my connectedness.
- I feel most alive when I feel loved and appreciated.
- I feel most alive when I am surrounded by beauty…and paying attention to beauty.
- I feel most alive when I am watercoloring.
- I feel most alive when I am sharing love and appreciation.
- I feel most alive when I am eating really good, fresh food.
- I feel most alive when I am aware of God.
- I feel most alive when I do something that helps others feel more alive.
Since the Gospel of John portrays Jesus as the one who brought not just eternal but also abundant life to the world, perhaps we ought to all ask ourselves what makes us feel most alive…and then go out and do it!
I hope you experience life to the fullest this week…and share your abundance with others!
Kahu Alan Akana