USA Network’s Covert Affairs is a fast-paced thrill ride spy drama with noticeable production ties to The Bourne Identity. High-speed entertainment, no question. This week’s season two premiere found Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) trying to protect an Eastern European professional women’s tennis player with much running, shooting and hyper-aggressive driving. However, even in all that, there was one moment to slow down and consider.
In the end, Annie was able to get the tennis player to safety and offer her protection and asylum in the U.S. These provisions required the young woman to give up her career in professional tennis. As Annie was explaining and apologizing for this turn of events, the former tennis star made a statement about people in her home culture. The following—her statement and the exchange it sparked with Annie—might be enough to stop us dead in our smoking tire tracks.
Tennis player: We know when fate has turned on us.
Annie: So what do you do?
Tennis player: You live. It’s still living.
Annie: I don’t want to just live. I want more than that.
Most of us are with Annie Walker on this one. Not many people are content with just living, especially when we hear it called “just living.” The question is, why? Are we searching for status or something deeper?
In fact, it is because we are not content with what this life has to offer that leads many of us to something spiritual. This part of the discontentment, then, is a very good thing. The hunger for heaven, a reconciled world beyond the one we live in now, is also good in moderation. I wish I fell more consistently on the good side of wanting more.
But the constant thirst for more isn’t always aimed in spiritual directions, which leads me to ask another question: does being discontent to just live life on any given day keep you and me from appreciating the gift that is our lives? As I think about the conversation between Annie and the tennis player she protected, it seems to at once reflect the hunger for another world that is the mark of our Creator on every human soul and a tremendous amount of ungratefulness for the blessings already given in this life. Since it reflects two very different things, I can’t decide if “I want more than that” is a good sentiment or not.
Sadly, it sounds familiar anyway. I do want more—more than to maintain the plateau where I currently stand in life, pleasant though the view may be from here. There is nothing wrong with simply wanting something more. In fact, many great discoveries and achievements, both personal and collective, begin with an ill-defined ache for something more.
As you and I get caught up in the journey toward another place, a better place, however, it is so easy to forget that the only life that is really ours is this moment. And the only blessings we are guaranteed are the ones we are experiencing right now. If this is the case, we had better not miss them in our rabid efforts to improve our status, our careers and our possessions.
Life, like Covert Affairs, is a fast ride. I don’t want to get to the end and realize I spent all my time thirsty for the wrong things. There are a few questions I think will help me (maybe us) avoid that:
What blessings are present in my life right now?
Am I living in gratitude today for what I have right now?
What do I want more of?
Why do I want that?
What do you think? Is wanting more good, bad or somewhere in between? Will the four questions listed above be enough to keep us focused?
Rachel Decker writes a biweekly column about television for RELEVANT magazine. Check out her blog at http://racheldeckerspeaks.com/.