Thursday, September 18, 2008

Seize the Day

It's been over a month since my last post, and I know, if one wants to be famous is Blogworld, one has to post more often than that... but who wants to be famous? Then you become conspicuous, and you have no more private space to deal with heavy life lessons. And boy, life can get heavy. Mine does, every so often, due to conflict, misunderstandings, illness, worries, and disappointment. You pick up these burdens that dominate your life, your thoughts. Trouble seems to eclipse all the sunshine that life brings. On the other hand, I am struck by the transience, the ephemeral nature of joy, of beauty. That's why I wish I was better about having my camera always at the ready. Of course, its short duration is what makes joy and beauty so wonderful, so exquisite. Did you ever ponder the connection between temporary and temporal? I used to think temporal had a similar meaning to corporeal, or that its meaning was physical in nature, but it means that which is already passing away, that which is limited by time. Our temporal existence brings much bittersweet joy. A baby suckling at the breast soon passes away, the hazy days of summer always give way to the cool, crisp last hurrah of autumn, and we, all too soon, realize our bodies are just slowly breaking down day by day after those few years of prime adulthood, and we always wish we had spent more time just enjoying people we love before they left this world for the next.
Of course, as a mother of six, I see this every day. My youngest baby is just about to turn one. He's starting to learn to communicate with words and signs. He claps and signs that he's all done with his meal, he dances to a song when Mama sings, he practices standing alone without support. I feel proud of him, I cheer him on in his accomplishments, and I feel a sense of loss. These days pass soo quickly. I know, we women are sentimental, but truth be told, it's the very brevity of babyhood that makes it so precious. It's a really special feeling, to be another person's whole world, to be the primary source of sustenance, comfort, warmth, and joy, to be so very valuable to someone else is pretty amazing. And no matter how tired I am of nursing my 1 year old while he tries to do gymnastics on my lap while holding on to the “spigot” with his newly cut teeth, I know I'll feel sad when he's finally weaned.
That saying, “Seize the Day!”, is so applicable to making the most of brief moments. Whether it means getting the zucchini in the freezer before it gets tough, or stopping the daily routine long enough to pick the flowers while they're still blooming, or remembering that first time the baby grabs your finger in his little fist, to record the smells, and textures, and details of important, ephemeral moments. I realize more all the time that this day won't ever come again. I'll never again see this sunrise (especially if I never get up early enough to see it!) and my children will only grow older and harder to connect with tomorrow and the next day, and if I don't grab onto this moment and make the most of it, the opportunity to DO something with it will be gone. It's all already passing away.
Of course, tomorrow holds new possibility. There are always new projects to pursue, new people to meet and exchange ideas with, and there's always the wonderful prospect of learning something new tomorrow with my children. Tomorrow I get to start over, to make a fresh start. Tomorrow I have another opportunity to get up to see the sunrise and get the laundry done before lunch so that I can do crafts with my kids in the afternoon. Tomorrow I'll straighten the house and make a point to really appreciate the order I have wrought in the few minutes it manages to persist in the face of kid chaos. Tomorrow I'll have a whole slew of new moments to savor. Tomorrow I'll try to go pick those flowers and hang them to dry, and grab a canteloupe from my neighbor's garden (they offered, I don't mean to STEAL it!) and savor the sweet flavor of summer just a little longer. Tomorrow, I'll teach my kids how to stop and pay attention so that they can make a moment last a long, long time. It's all those moments that add up to “life abundant.

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

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