As grown ups, we so often lose the simple joy of the moment we are in. There is so much going on that requires planning. And it is all of course legitimate. Budgeting, home maintenance, business trips, school needs, you name it, as adults we have to make some time to line our ducks up all in a row and make sure nothing collapses in a heap.
This is all very mature and reasonable. But it is also a reality that, in lining up these various ducks month after month and year after year, that we can lose our grip on a deep and mysterious gift… the moment. I think it’s important that we hold onto our ability to enjoy the moment without it being weighed down by “life in general”
Having children is a huge – and often wasted – opportunity to regain some sense of the moment. My little twins are the best in that regard. The older one is SUCH an enthusiast. This is the guy who does everything at full volume.
The other day he discovered my mobile phone, and stood up with it in his hand like that scene from Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey – the newly discovered tool. Holding it high over his head, he screamed a joyful shout at absolutely full volume. I was only 2 cm away at the time, with my eyes shut…. Trust me 🙂 I did not enjoy the moment as much as he did.
But as I then watched him, he accidentally activated Siri, and got this strange voice speaking to him. He looked at the screen excitedly and gave the exact same shout of joyful discovery. Then he saw his favourite stuffed toy, a small soft African Wild Dog, which he calls “Dog”. As in “Where de dog?”. Same shout. Same volume. Same look on the face. And the phone was ancient history.
I know that a 20 month old is pretty much a goldfish in terms of memory and attention span, but I couldn’t help wondering if we adults, constantly distracted by medium and long term priorities, lose out, sometimes, on the exquisite joy of the moment. There are very few things as precious as losing myself in a few moments with my children, and shutting out the world and its worries to be 100% there with my kidlets. Wrestles, tickles, hide and seek, singing the family song, you name it.
I am learning that there are also other moments that also deserve our full attention, that have nothing to do with kids. We can redeem our own moments, if we value the opportunity enough…
The sun rose, the other morning. Profound, I know :-). But it was profound, because on the other side of a boring “take-it-for-granted” daily event, was an absolute miracle of colour and light. And I saw it. I SAW it. I deliberately stopped my whole morning routine to enjoy it. I was watching from a window as colours played and leapt from cloud to moving cloud. There was a busy day ahead, but for 10 minutes or so, the violent salmon sky stole my attention. I forgot about it all and just enjoyed the miracle of refracted light on the clouds. I watched as commuters, busy in traffic, probably never saw a thing.
How many moments like these could we redeem if we let ourselves escape from the daily grind, long enough to capture some moments. Sometimes I thing we are too responsible and too grown up about exactly the wrong things! (My wife, often says to me as I grab the camera to video some cute toddler moment – “leave it, just enjoy the moment. Not every moment is for a camera” And she is right. I lose the moment by trying to capture it.)
Let’s do some stuff that can give us back the miracle of the moment.
Let’s walk on the beach.
Let’s climb a hill and sit still for a while, where the only sound is the breeze.
Let’s stay up late and watch the stars.
Let’s let our eyes meet across the room, and instead of seeing our partners, let’s see our lovers.
Let’s stop the fight mid-sentence, because, actually, we’d rather be kind than right.
Let’s write a hand-written love letter, and post it in an envelope with a stamp.
Let’s dream over a glass of wine.
Let tomorrow be. Today is full enough of things to worry about.
Scratch that. Let today be. Today also can go and get over itself.
Right here, right now, is a moment we all need. Let’s breath it in. Preferably hand in hand with someone precious.