In Philosophy I under Master Ignatius, which may seem ages ago already (but isn’t actually), we watched the film “Waking Life” and were made to write a one-page reaction paper on a line of our choice from the film.
There’s no story. It’s just people, gestures, moments, bits of rapture, fleeting emotions. In short, the greatest story ever told.
A young girl clutches her teddy bear as her mother enters the terminal building and blows her a flying kiss. A high school student sprints through halls and pathways just to pass his paper on time. A middle-aged man grumbles in the driver’s seat as traffic takes its toll. An old woman opens her eyes and realizes that cancer has failed to down her for yet another day.
We have seen these images flit across our eyes, in the television or somewhere in imagination. And like every other picture of the same nature, we casually ignore them and let them pile in a stack labeled “normal happenings,” “everyday life,” or something of the sort. Everyday, we pine for something big – extraordinary, out of the ordinary… special. Everyday, we keep our hopes high that life will have a wonderful surprise or twist. But no matter how long the time we spend in hoping and wishing and dreaming, the “extraordinary” will never come.
That is because what is happening around us – everything: a tick of the clock, a race across streets, a slip on the floor, laughter – is what we have been unknowingly waiting for lifelong. The people that we met or barely even know, what we feel as each second passes, an act of kindness or rage released, even the harmonious chirping of the birds – this is what life is.
Life is a composition, a masterful musical piece made by combining different sets of notes. Life is an artwork, the graffiti of colors plastered across and all over one another to create a parade of colors. Waiting only makes us blind to what is unfolding before our eyes, to what is “the present” and “is.” We must live with the world, or learn to live with it, for it is only in the world – and not in waiting – by which we live. The story is already written; we need not wait for it, but must learn to read it.
There is nothing special that’s coming. Special happens in life itself – the greatest story ever told, and the only one worth reading.