Lessons Learned from Watching “The Office”; or, Dealing with Day to Day Stuff

I just finished watching “The Office” (US version) again on Netflix.  It is one of my favorite situation comedies.  (There are only 4 other shows in that category, i.e., my favorite TV comedies: Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, Cheers, and Frasier.  From that list, you can probably figure out my age.)

As the show ended, Netflix played a preview of an upcoming show they thought I’d like.  It’s called “Love Is Blind.”  It’s a reality show.  (Give me a break.  These so-called reality shows have NOTHING to do with reality.)  The show is about dating and falling in love—all within the timespan that it took to film the show.

I’ve never watched one of these “dating/falling in love/choosing one person from a group of beautiful people” shows.  The whole concept seems utterly ridiculous to me.  But I have watched “The Office”—all 9 seasons of it—4 or 5 times.  And when I think about the fictional presentation in “The Office” compared to the so-called reality of these dating shows, there’s a few conclusions that I have drawn (followed by where the conclusion came from—reality TV or “The Office”).

  1. If you meet someone and spend—oh, let’s say 6 weeks—yeah, you spend 6 weeks getting to know them and you think you’re in love, you’re NOT. (Reality TV)
  2. If you meet someone and spend 3 or 4 years getting to know them and you feel you’re falling in love, you probably are.  If you spend a lot of time not just thinking of that person but serving them in unselfish ways, go ahead and be bold. You’re IN LOVE. (“The Office”)
  3. If you’re always looking for the most remarkable, the extraordinary, the sexiest—well, real life is passing you by.  (Reality TV)
  4. If you live for those moments in the midst of day to day stuff when an incredible sunset shows up in the sky or a rainbow appears or your spouse really stops and looks into your eyes just before that kiss—well, you’ve found true REALITY.

Appreciating what we have in the moment and doing that over the course of a lifetime develops character and fosters integrity.  What I’ve observed on the advertisements for the reality TV shows suggest to me that almost nothing in those contrived experiences can do the same.

When I was a boy, my Dad was bemoaning the way things were in the world and said something about “the good old days,” as if things were better in past.  My Granddaddy spoke without even looking up from his newspaper.  “Son, you’re living in the good old days.”  It’s okay to look fondly on the past, but it’s equally important to appreciate the present.

I was sitting in a Sunday worship service awhile ago, and the speaker mentioned in a somewhat negative light the daily boring stuff that has to be done that gets in the way of spirituality.  An edifying feeling swept over me, and I opened my notebook and jotted this down: “Don’t underestimate the significance of the mundane.  What we do day by day helps to make us who we are and is an important aspect of our eternal identity.”

In fact, the mundane is REAL LIFE, and if we can embrace it as part of the journey, it doesn’t get in the way of our spiritual growth.  It magnifies it.

Author: John A. Cowgill

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