I had the privilege of officiating at a wedding yesterday.
I’ve done a few weddings since becoming a pastor, but this one was extra special. I’d known the bride and groom since high school. I was the drama teacher where both of them were students. In fact, I’d cast them both in the classic play by Thornton Wilder, Our Town. I never would have guessed that one day, I’d be at their wedding.
I spent a lot of time on what I wanted to say to them.
Sadly, it wasn’t until I got home and thought some more, after the wedding, that I realized: advice for Katey and Blaine was all over the play they’d first met in. One thing that is especially awesome, poignant, and beautiful about Wilder’s play is that although it is now considered a “classic,” the timelessness of its wisdom can still connect to us today.
So, here are a few thoughts, after the wedding, from Our Town:
“Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don’t talk English and don’t even want to.”
2. Do Things Together.
“People are meant to go through life two by two. ‘Taint natural to be lonesome.”
3. You Don’t Have All the Time in the World.
“That’s what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years.”
4. Take Time to Rest.
“There are the stars–doing their old, old crisccross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven’t settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings out there. Just chalk…or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining all the time to make something of itself. Strain’s so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.”
5. Value Each Other. Value Others.
“Everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people who ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years, and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”
6. You’re the Only Ones Who Can Live Your Life.
“So I took the opposite of my father’s advice and I’ve been happy ever since. And let that be a lesson to you, George, never ask advice on personal matters.”
7. There are Better Things Than an Education.
“I think that once you’ve found a person that you’re very fond of . . . I mean a person who’s fond of you, too, and likes you enough to be interested in your character. . . . Well, I think that’s just as important as college is, and even more so. That’s what I think.”
8. Remember How You Feel Today. (Because You Won’t Always Feel That Way.)
“I want you to try and remember what it was like to have been very young. And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn’t quite see the street you were in, and didn’t quite hear everything that was said to you. You’re just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please?”
9. The Most Wonderful Things Aren’t the Most Expensive Things.
“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’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you!”
10. Live Every Moment. Every, Every Minute.
“Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute? No. Saints and poets maybe. They do, some.”
There you have it, Katey and Blaine. 10 life lessons from the play in which you first met. Parting words from your former teacher and director. Loving reminders from your friend.
Now go out there and realize life while you live it!