“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”
― Emily Dickinson
What is it about reminiscing about the past that has such a strong grip on us? I recently went through some old photographs. I felt a combination of great joy from the photos but also a bit melancholy. I suppose looking at all those photos reminded me how fleeting time truly is.
My grandfather is a superior memory maker. He takes videos at every holiday, and captures every family member. His passion has definitely made an impact. Many of the people he featured in videos were his brothers and sister who are now deceased. Most of the video footage is simple, just showing them doing every day things like sitting and eating and laughing in their most comfortable state. I know my grandfather and grandmother cherish these live moments captured of their siblings.
One Thanksgiving my grandfather turned the video to me as I was eating. I was giving advice on something, and my grandpa said “Tiffy, say something”. I remember feeling not in the mood to talk to the camera (I’m never in the mood to do anything for the camera), so I hurriedly and selfishly said a sarcastic greeting. I was so sad because I would have actually loved to see myself smiling and enjoying the moment with my grandfather. Instead I was busy giving some advice to someone.
Time flies. Life gets busy. My calendar takes over my days and I worry about getting to bible studies, making it on time to appointments I have booked, making sure all my chores are done and Lillian makes it to her doctors visits and so on. The thing is, new chores and life demands never seem to stop pouring in. So time continues to pass. Yet the times I remember and cherish are the moments that sneak up on you. These memories are usually nothing remarkable. They are little moments. The squeeze of a hand. The look of delight. A friend pouring her heart out. Just being with someone and not even doing much at all.
It seems that in life, the time that freezes are the moments we don’t plan and just let happen. It is these precious times that life becomes organic and authentic.
I find Emily Dickinson’s quote both frightening and wonderful. Each moment is so precious and only happens once. Other moments may come that remind us of the past, but each moment is unique and one of a kind. When I ponder that it makes me realize how pressing some needs truly are, and how other needs that seem pressing can actually wait a day or two.
Now, sometimes things must get done. I just think I am the type to worry about the demands and meetings over the still moments that really define life.
My goal for this week is to enjoy life without agendas or expectations. I want to just let it be and see what comes. Being aware that each moment in life only comes once does make it sweeter and changes how I respond to both people and demands.
What precious moments are you passing up on due to life demands or expectations?