“What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them.”
― Emily P. Freeman,
This week I have enjoyed the quiet company of old friends, the exuberant and spontaneous hospitality of strangers, an enormous rainbow emblazoned like a banner of love over my head, and the breeze ruffling my hair when I rode with the window down. I have felt the surge of looking-ahead, of wonderings and musings…and I keep trying to pull myself back.
“Thank you,” I whisper. “For this, right now.”
Why must I always compare this moment to something that was or something that will be?
It’s too easy to cling to the past seasons, or wistfully wait on what’s coming next…but it’s not very easy to just lay these things aside and embrace the fullness of Now. Today. This solitary, sacred moment. This is the only time I will have this moment in my grasp, and even as I possess it, it slips through my eager fingers like air.
More than just a sentimental connection with the moment, I want to grab hold of something. C.S. Lewis said that …”the Present is the point at which time touches eternity,” and I think it must be.
I have a tarnishing necklace with these words scrawled across the metal pendant: “Every day is a gift.” Maybe that is what I’m reaching for–to accept the gift of this day, the gift of this breath, with attention.
Have you ever seen a child bide his time, ripping open his many Christmas presents and tossing them aside as he waits for his parents to bring out the one gift he wants most. He may barely notice the other gifts as he unwraps them, because he isn’t really looking at them at all. He is really only thinking of one thing–and that one thing is something he does not yet hold in his hands.
I’m afraid I’m like that. I frantically unwrap seconds of my life, pile minutes into unnoticed heaps, stack hours on fast-filling shelves, file away days in the back of a drawer…and I forget to look at them twice as I fling the new-moment wrapping aside and plunge ahead to the “bigger gifts” I hope I can unwrap soon.
But lately…I’ve been trying to learn. My moments come and go faster than breaths, quieter than glances, but I reach out to accept more of them as they pass.
My bones chill with the temporary wonder of each breath. Joy breaks over me like laughter. Even pain invades my moments with something like joy itself–as if the love mixes with the pain to grow a heart larger and roomier than it was before. To make more room in it, perhaps, for more mingled laughter and tears.
I’m seeing the tiny wonders more clearly. People and relationships I often take for granted. The smallest of yellow flowers along the hiking trail. The tone of concern in a friend’s voice. The tears shed across tables and across miles. A rainbow that makes me laugh aloud, painted across the gray. The small graces of a Redeemer who seams my moments together with invisible, invincible thread.
I reach out for these small graces, because they are a way to lift up my face and smile thanks for another undeserved moment. They are a soundtrack for my worship. They are my cue to whisper praise.
So then, my lesson for today is joy.
Joy, in this very next gift of a breath.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
– Matthew 7:11, ESV –