Have you seen the film “Greatest Showman”? I watched it twice last week, once on the plane and again with Jake. I haven’t enjoyed a musical so much since those classics: “Hello, Dolly!” “My Fair Lady” “Sound of Music.” Songs from those productions are still recorded in my memory, and I have a feeling a few from the “Greatest Showman” will stick there, too.
Last night we went out to dinner to bid farewell to some dear friends. K. is retiring from 40 years of college teaching and we’ve known him all those years. And before. Only the first few and these last years have we actually lived in the same community, and sadly, as life would have it, we have rarely been together in the same room. Still there is a mutual esteem, a special love between us, born in the outdoors.
Together Jake and K. learned the value of experiential education and wilderness learning, in the Northwoods and rivers around Lake Superior. Both of them led numerous trips before they were old enough to do so.
Age 21 seems pretty young, just saying . . .
K. was a groomsman in our 1974 wedding, and my leader on a wilderness seminar course two months later. What I learned on that trip has served me long.
Sarah, you can hike all night in rain and mud . . . you can stay up all night with sick children.
You can survive, even appreciate, a three-day solo . . . you can survive and appreciate a three-year stint in Africa.
You can backpack all day and rappel and climb a rock cliff and run 7 miles . . . you can stay married.
K. pushed my young self, in God-like ways, to see life differently, to live deeper, and to think and grow and search for meaning. So I felt sad last night after our goodbye dinner.
Watching K. and his dear wife walk away, a song from “Greatest Showman” began playing in my head, the one about how love and fame will never be enough: Never be enough, never be enough.
It’s how I feel at goodbyes.
And honestly, in all of life.
I recently read an obituary, quoting the deceased one as saying, “heaven was here on Earth, the nurturing glory of Nature, love of family, and the joyful camaraderie of friends.” That person found peace believing that, but I – along with the songwriters of “Never Enough”— beg to differ.
Even as I appreciate “the nurturing glory of God’s Nature” and the “love of family and the joyful camaraderie of friends” like K., even though there is much on Earth to be enjoyed like wilderness trips and good movies and music, still . . . sigh . . . still there are moments, like last night, when I know that all this will never be enough.
And I think God meant it to be this way.