Last night I was watching the War Prayer episode of Babylon 5. My daughter and I have decided to watch the whole series and the movies in the sequence it was aired. In that episode in the first season, Centaurian ambassador Londo Mollari said this to Vir, his aide.
Something my father said. He was old, very old at the time. I went into his room, and he was sitting alone in the dark, crying. So I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "My shoes are too tight, but it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance." I never understood what that meant until now. My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance.
This episode deals with the call of duty and traditions in the Centuarian society. Marriages are arranged and are often used as means for merger of noble houses to make themselves more powerful. There is no room for love or free will. The ambassador realised too late for him that "My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance."
Both of us are struck by this scene. Life has a tendency to tie us down and force us to conform to expectations and the norms of society. Hopefully it has not bound us so tightly that we are presently "living lives of quiet desperation." May we live life of moderation and not forget how to dance. May we not be so tied down by our obligations that we forget how to live, or have a life.
Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.