A friend of mine has in his Facebook status: “Wish I was still in the Bahamas.” It was updated almost a week ago so for the last 5 days, this implies, he wishes he was somewhere else. How many of us have felt this way—for that matter, how many of us live there in that place of wishing we were somewhere else; keeping a mental albeit running list of the places we would rather be. (Mine is represented for the most part by one place: DisneyWorld.) For the same reason we lament Mondays and celebrate Fridays. Awkward elevator humor at work almost always has something to do with waiting for the weekend, rolling eyes at Monday, longing for that magical moment of departure, or some joke about the unusual and cruel launch of the working day called morning.
It reminds me of something my mother said to me when I was in college: “Enjoy these days because they are not real.” At the time I thought it was a peculiar statement; drawing a hard, delineating line between “real” and “not real” when it was obviously all real. I mean, was it ever real. And for the record I still think it was a peculiar thing to say to a college-aged kid. But over the years it has rang with greater and greater resonance and profundidty. See, I have at times been guilty of ordering what amounts to a “stay” of life between weekends and vacations; living there as if that’s not who I really am. Basically, I made the unconscious decision to live during the week as if it’s not “real” while living the weekends as the fullest. And given the conversations that I’m in and the people in my circles, I don’t think I’m alone.
But the reality is that we will spend about 70% of life living between weekends, or 70% of life in the “not real” category awaiting the next Friday night, trip to Orlando, or dive in those warm Caribbean waters. Is this what we’re called to do? Is this living as an image bearer of the one true God? So many times we hear how joy is happiness is a choice and this could not be more true. Failing to make the conscious choice to find purpose and significance leads only to a life of fiction; a life that never really happened in the first place. Instead, we are called to confront the day—each day—and be willing to breathe in its pain and adversity with every bit of passion and feeling we would a day on the sunlit beaches of the Caribbean Islands or a starry yet blustery morning on a trail in the Collegiate Peak Wilderness or an enchanting afternoon in the Magic Kingdom. Life is a fairy tale—with crazy twists and turns, intrigue, a villain and a hero, a daring rescue into enemy territory, good and evil—and should be lived as such. Alas, we are called to stay engaged.