“I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss of her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One.”
This quote is from the movie City of Angels starring Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. It’s delivered by Cage, playing an angel named Seth, who has lost the love of his life. In the end, it is these fleeting moments — the ones that seem so insignificant, so intangible — that become the most valuable.
How easily we forget this as we chase the tangible: The big screen TVs. The home improvement project. The latest techno-fad.
They seem to be substantive, on the surface. We can touch them, and they take up real physical space. But it turns out that these things prove to be not so tangible after all.
They do, however, distract us from the things that matter.
I passed by this abandoned television on a walk a few days after Christmas. I’m sure it was the top prize a handful of holidays ago. Now it sits, abandoned, on the side of the road among dirty piles of snow, valueless. No doubt a new TV is in its place; better, flatter, higher def…and destined to be discarded in a few years time.
But the beauty of the light from a hundred candles in a darkened church on Christmas Eve, the afternoon spent together covered in flour while baking snickerdoodles, tucking some deliriously excited but exhausted kids into bed after a late night at Grandma’s; these moments that rush by too fast — rudely neglecting to warn us of their importance as they go — are more valuable than a million big screen TVs.
Indeed, the intangible things grow more valuable every passing year. We usually wish we had savored them more when we had the chance.
In many ways, this year will be the same as the last: filled with temptations to chase the tangible, as well as thousands of opportunities to seek out, embrace, and savor that which is not.
Don’t miss them while chasing the next big thing.