A wonderful quote from Thornton Wilder’s iconic play, Our Town, one that is especially suited for this Eastertide season between Easter and Pentecost:
Emily has returned from the dead to look at her beloved family, aching to be with them once more. She sees them as they were fourteen years earlier, when she was still a young girl, on her birthday, but she knows all that will come, all the joy and the sorrow:
EMILY, in a loud voice, to the STAGE MANAGER: “I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back—up the hill—to my grave. But first, wait! One more look. Goodbye, goodbye, world. Goodbye, Grover’s Corners…Mama and Papa. Goodbye 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 anyone to realize you.” She looks toward the STAGE MANAGER and asks abruptly through her tears: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?”
STAGE MANAGER: “No.” Pause. “The saints and poets, maybe—they do some.”
EMILY: “I’m ready to go back.” She returns to her chair beside Mrs. Gibbs. Pause.
MRS GIBBS: “Were you happy?”
EMILY: “No…I should have listened to you. That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.”