by Magda Murawska, Ed.M.
I recently saw the new Broadway musical “Ghost.” Based on the hit movie starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, the musical first started in London before crossing the pond to the Broadway stage. Luckily for the audience, the stars of the show also crossed the pond, which means that they know their parts down to the t. I had initially been hesitant to go, thinking that nothing could beat the classic movie. But, I was truly and pleasantly surprised.
As I sat there (tearing up on several occasions, I will admit), one scene stood out above the others. It was the scene prior to the male character, Sam’s, untimely and tragic death. He and his girlfriend, Molly, had been strolling back from a late dinner when the topic turned to saying those three special words. Sam was one of those people that was just not keen on saying them. He had previously sang Molly a beautiful song about how he says “I love you” in every way other than actually saying the words. To Molly it wasn’t enough, she demanded that he say the words as proof that he really loved her. Though I quickly saw the irrationality in both her demand, I felt for her, understanding that sometimes hearing those three words from the one you love is like warm syrup on a stack of hot pancakes – just amazing! So as much as I wanted to yell “Just do it already, Sam!” I also realized that it was unwarranted for her to place this demand on him. We often make these demands on others, whether based on society’s standard or our own, forgetting that others don’t always live by our set of rules and expectations. As they argued about Sam’s inability to say “I love you,” the tragedy occurred.
It was truly heartbreaking to watch the scene play out. Just a second ago the couple was fighting about a detail in their relationship and the next second, their relationship was gone. All of a sudden, all the little things that seemed so important no longer mattered. In fact, they seemed rather ludicrous.
The scene was a perfect example of how life throws many curveballs our way. Typically when we least expect it. Sometimes we see it coming, as if in slow motion we watch as it comes at us, holding out hope that maybe it’s not meant for us. That maybe it’ll miss us and we’ll be left unscathed. That our life will continue as we had imagined it. But then it hits and we, and our life, are changed forever. And regardless of whether we saw it coming or not, nothing can ever prepare us for what the impact will feel like.
We’ve all been dealt with at least one ‘life curveball.’ Knowing that they’re bound to happen will not make the experience easier or make us less shocked or surprised when the unpredictable happens. If there’s anything predictable about life, it’s its unpredictability. And sometimes that unpredictability can be very painful. It can be like a splash of cold water reminding us that what we want does not always happen and despite our best efforts, things don’t always work out the way we planned.
So what is the morale of this blog post? To remind both myself and you, the reader, to not get caught up in life’s little hiccups. Remember that our goal is the same – to live a happy life. Since we don’t know how much of life we have to live, why waste it on anything other than trying to be happy? I don’t mean every minute of the day happy, more like ‘big picture’ happy. Will this mean that life will be perfect? No. Will it be predictable? Absolutely not. But, that is why we should continually work towards that goal of being happy. Whether it’s realizing that we’ve been stuck in a rut or whether we’ve been holding onto a grievance. Maybe it’s time to let go. So say what you’ve been holding back. Call the person you’ve been meaning to call. Develop more meaningful relationships. Fill your life with memorable moments. Don’t hold grudges. And don’t make demands – they lead to frustrations and disappointment. Acknowledge your wants and strive for them, but don’t demand that they happen. Life just doesn’t work that way. And if you do anything, at least tell your loved one that you love them.