Life changes so easily, yet somehow this fragility escapes us. Our day-to-day routines, our getting up and eating breakfast, going to work, and whatever else, occupy us more than why we bother doing any of those things. The day-to-day becomes life. I can’t help but be very sad about that.
My life has been surging with a sense of change. Sure, it has a lot to do with getting ready to move states and enter an intensified soul-searching process; one sure to yield irrevocable change, but this surging has been going on long before I knew I was leaving.
When I started school and my parents divorced, I developed a mild case (I’m saying mild to save a little face. In reality, it may not have been so mild.) of separation anxiety. If I left home, or the car, without saying “Goodbye” or “I love you,” or if there was disharmony of any kind, I was convinced I had missed an opportunity; I would never get to tell my mother I loved her. I worried any ill words would be the last I would ever get to say. Maybe this is morbid and weird, but I’m just telling you how it was.
For me, moments have always held great weight, but as a kid, I didn’t know what to do with that kind of weight, so I did what everyone else did. I became numb to the moment, living life in the day-to-day or in memories or projections. (And what sucky places those can be to live.)
My best friend Kathy, despite a particularly trying day-to-day, manages to live above it. She oozes a fierce will to live and to live well. Watching her live changed my life. I have learned that living in the moment is not the point. Really living is living beyond the moment, not without presence, but with such presence that it brings a sort of giddy reverence to every ounce in a moment. Every moment has eternal value therefore every opportunity is seized. I began to see my life with new eyes, and being on the verge of a life-change has only sharpened my vision. Every second becomes a precious drop of wine and must not be wasted. Every day becomes an opportunity to drink in the times which may never be again.
Last Friday evening was a glimpse into the eternal value of moments, and I was so moved by it, I couldn’t write about it until now.
Kathy graduated seminary last Friday (a miracle all by itself). For her final project, she wrote a series of letters to her baby girl, sharing much of her life-story. I was privileged to edit her work and helped to create a scrapbook for the letters. Her husband and baby girl got to walk with her to receive the diploma. Her story is hers to tell, so I won’t be giving you a whole lot, but it was an amazing act of God for her to be graduating, for her to be graduating with her husband accompanying her, and for there to be a baby at all. I felt strangely disembodied the entire graduation. Not only was Kathy’s story buzzing around in my head as I rejoiced her accomplishment, and the reality of her life, but my own story buzzed around in my head too.
The graduation began with worship. As we sang, the voices of my mom and David rose from behind me, and the voices of my dad and Jeff rose on either side of me, and I lifted my own voice to join them. It was the first worship experience where we attended the same service and none of us were leading it. I was overwhelmed. Being there together was yet another act of God derived from a smattering of small moments. Some of those moments were dreadful, some wonderful, but in fact many of them were quite ordinary and went unobserved.
I think giddy reverence for the moment comes from seeing the hand of God. It gives us the gumption to approach life as a tenacious archeologist, set to dig away at every bit of life looking for even a speck of God. The moments become a space for God to fill. A smile, a shared meal, a weighty silence in a crowded room, a kiss, a hug, a conversation, become moments to drink up and the less likable moments become moments to give up. All will be strung together for some beautiful purpose, and where they lead, who can say?