AN ODD COINCIDENCE?
While I was typing my post for yesterday, reminiscing about my kids and thinking about how grateful I am that God put them on my path, to travel with me through my life, I got an email from a reader.
His name is Wayne.
Wayne wrote, “I found this excerpt from How To Live in the Moment extremely poignant.”
Then he quoted something I wrote several years ago, when my kids were still kids.
Perhaps as much as anything I’ve ever written, it illustrates my take on the value of focusing on where we are at this moment in our life–and cherishing the moment for all it’s worth. At least if it’s a good moment. If it’s not, we should probably move on down the line as doggone quickly as we can.
Here’s the excerpt Wayne sent to me:
When we discover how fleeting life is—when the reality plunges its roots deep into our mind and our emotion—we become new creatures. We start seeing things differently. Our attitudes change, and so do our actions.
Once, for example, my eight-year-old son and I were standing along the inside wall of the school gymnasium, watching his sister and her classmates serenade a packed house of video-recording parents. Bradley couldn’t see his former teacher playing the piano, so without asking his permission I reached down to pick him up. Early in his life I had trained him to help out my aging back by jumping to the rhythm of my lift. And he always jumped. Until this moment.
I was standing behind him and to his right, with my hands positioned as arches cradled beneath his armpits. I sent the message to jump by pulling slightly downward, as though tensing a spring. But the instant we had liftoff, I could tell that not all rockets were firing. His arms hung limp at his side and his weight was that of a dead astronaut. He wasn’t helping at all. I, however, was committed to the lift partly because I didn’t want to look like a wimp in front of the folks standing near me.
When I returned him to the hardwood floor and leaned over to ask him if he saw the teacher, all he said was, “That was embarrassing.”
I apologized, then stood silently beside him with my hand on his shoulder.
Immediately I realized what his words and body language had told me. A year earlier he had used both of these to ask me to stop kissing him goodbye in front of his schoolmates. And now, he was telling me that my time for lifting him in public was over. Too soon he will not want me putting my arm around him when others are watching. So I will cherish my hand on his shoulder for as long as he lets me rest it there.
That’s how the discovery changes us. We realize that there are moments of opportunity that will come and go in the blink of an eye. And we embrace what we would otherwise overlook, delay, or push aside.
It’s Thanksgiving. Think about the people in your life whom you cherish. Be grateful for them. And if you can work up the gumption to speak the words to them, go ahead. Make their day.
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