Legend has it that the ‘bigger than life’ actress, Mae West, coined the expression “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” in her sultry, sexy voice to the delight of audiences everywhere.
Maybe it is my “Libra” birthday (horoscope) but I am always more comfortable ‘in the middle’ when it comes to life…following Aristotle’s famous line of advice about life: “Moderation in all things.”
I was also raised along the line of moderation in my own personal life-changing decisions through examples in my family. If the pendulum swings too far right or left, life becomes chaotic and out of control. Keep the pendulum anchored in the center, was my family’s philosophy.
It was this movie, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, that started our first Ya Ya reunion soon after its first showing in the summer of 2002.
We played the movie for everyone and decided on which character each of us best represented…we even had a secret Ya Ya ritual with fireworks and sprinklers on the front lawn of the Edisto Beach House…all dressed up in our Ya Ya attire…chanting away! I am sure the neighbors thought we were completely “looped.” (Maybe a ‘tad’ but certainly not completely.)
It is one poignant scene in the movie that has remained with me long after my first viewing.
But first, let me give you a quick synopsis of the plot…Sidda (Sandra Bullock) is estranged from her crazy but endearingly vulnerable mother (Ellen Burstyn) Vivi. Sidda has finally fallen in love but has been so traumatized by her own childhood that she is scared of marriage and is thinking about calling the whole thing off.
To the rescue go Vivi’s three best friends from old high school days (the Ya Ya’s) to kidnap Sidda, bring her back home to Louisiana from NYC, and finally explain to her (now as an adult, herself) what caused her mother to be the way she was, which also included loving her above all else.
Vivi’s first true love was killed in WWII and on the rebound she married a local boy, Shep (James Garner) had four children and a miserable marriage…fighting loss of dreams, drugs, and mental break-downs.
When Shep hears from the Ya’s that Sidda is out at the old lake house while they try to set her straight about the reality of her childhood and the huge mistake she will be making if she throws her chance at love away out of fear of repeating her mother’s mistakes…he comes to see his daughter.
As Sidda and her beloved daddy talk…she stops and asks him:
James Garner’s response to that question touches me so much “What’s enough?” And then, in typical daddy fashion, he wants to be reassured that his little girl got enough love…to be able to return love, now, as an adult.
“What’s enough?” On this Earth, in this life, that’s a tough question to answer. Can we ever really get enough love?
I have realized in reading, watching talk television, watching movies, that ‘life after death experiences’ follow one same pattern. When the directive to return to earth is given, no one wants to return. The reason: Most children and adults, alike, talk about being completely filled with love… an unconditional, amazing love that completely consumes them. It is so overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful, at the same time, that it is hard to give that up and return to a diseased body or other restrictive environment…even to a healed body.
On earth, it is rare for us to feel that kind of empowering love…we only catch quick glimpses of it along our path through life…if we are lucky. Love on earth is tainted by requirements to prove we are good enough to be loved. God loves us without such judgment. (Thank goodness!)
One great truth in this life is pretty simple…our most important compass marker: “Love and be Loved.”
So until tomorrow: If we want to feel that we have been loved enough on this Earth…then the only way to fill our bucket is to love others first…it is only then that love can be enough to fill all our personal bucket lists.
“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” if that good thing is love.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh