My lovely grandma was in town last week, and we went to the movie theater to see Cinderella. I was expecting a cute story, but not a good lesson with it. But here’s my favorite line from the movie, a line that I don’t think many other viewers noticed:
Right before Ella attends the kingdom’s ball, she exits her exquisite coach and her lizard-turned-chauffer opens the door for her. Ella glances up at the marvelous palace, and she begins to feel intimidated. She wonders if she should even be attending this gala.
She says something like, “I’m just a girl, not a princess.”
The lizard-turned-chauffer answers, “And I’m only a lizard, not a footman. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
Enjoy it while it lasts.
So often we forget to do this. We get caught up in the next steps and the final outcome. We do this so much in life, that we often lose sight of the moment. What if Cinderella hadn’t ended up with the prince? It wouldn’t have made her beautiful gown, previously owned by her mother, any less special. It wouldn’t have changed that fact that she had an amazing evening full of music, scenery and good company (the prince). It wouldn’t have made her moment any less magical.
Most people can think of a few passing examples where they weren’t trying to gain anything out of an experience except a good time and a beautiful memory. Ask anyone, and they will usually refer to a time when they were younger.
For me, one summer I was named princess of our local strawberry festival. I knew this title wouldn’t mean anything when I left for college the following month. (In fact, my college roommate couldn’t stop laughing when she found out.) But I enjoyed it while it lasted. I rode in the parade, hugged little children and got free strawberry shortcake. I wore a crown for two whole days.
You may grumble about waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to attend your son’s soccer game, but someday you’ll miss watching him confidently weave through the other players as he navigates to the goal. He is enjoying his moment, too. He isn’t necessarily training to be an international soccer superstar or to use soccer to pursue his next goal; he’s just enjoying being one of the best players in the Saturday community league. Those are the memories that make up a life.
But all too often these examples are the exception. Moments in life are fleeting. It is important that every experience is not used simply as a stepping stone to the next thing. It is important to be mindful—to soak it all in.
Then when the clock strikes midnight on your moment, you’ll have enjoyed it while it lasted.
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