There are miracles everywhere; we just have to slow down, take a breath, and let the wonder and beauty wash over us.
My friend, Solange, had a dream recently in which her life was on fast forward. The images of her life meshed and blurred in her mind’s eye, and she woke up with a deeper awareness that life is short. I, too, have been feeling like time is zoom-zooming by. Mondays turn into Fridays in a snap, years just seem to melt into one another, and decades are piling up behind me in neat little stacks.
Not to mention, my kids somehow morphed from babies into little human beings in a skinny minute. It truly seems like yesterday that I was pregnant with my now 8 -year-old son, excited and (mostly) petrified about what was to come. How can 8 years go by in such a crushing flash?
My first reaction is to be broken-hearted about the passage of time. Some things in the future loom dark and bittersweet, like the possibility of caring for ailing parents and my children leaving home for college. Time has also left its stamp on my face and body: the lines, the wrinkles, and the saggy everything.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I can get myself into a space where the march of time makes me stop in my tracks and see the world and my life in a gorgeous, lit-up kind of way. Oh, how I wish I could stay in that space all the time! Those are the moments when I feel truly alive, basking in the blessings that surround me.
When I’m in that space, I settle into the moment like it’s a comfy old couch, and I’m able to really listen, love on a deeper level, and truly see whatever miracle is in front of me. Ironically, in those moments when I am fully present, time seems to stand still.
What I see in those heart-filling moments is that love matters, relationships matter, but almost everything else is just a distraction. Distractions are everywhere–your “to-do” list, your phone, petty conflicts at work, preoccupation with your appearance or your wallet. These distractions cause us so much anxiety and angst, pulling us away time and time again from the simple truths that keep us grounded, connected, and happy.
Let’s face it. Life is so good. Even when it’s bad and we’re in the midst of a crisis or feeling extra grumpy, life is still so good. The sun rises and sets every day, putting on magnificent, twice-daily shows of pink, orange, and lavender. Nature is a constant gift, reminding us that there is a bigger life force embracing us and gently pushing us along. There is almost nothing more soul-soothing than a beautiful blue sky or a big, centuries-old oak tree, its branches whispering stories of all it has seen.
Think about the miracles a healthy body performs every single day, our hearts pumping oxygenated blood throughout our bodies and our lungs breathing fresh air, without having to give it a single thought. Our legs, feet, and arms carry us around, a complicated and graceful choreography that rarely gets tangled up. Each of us began as a wee little one-celled fertilized egg which replicated into 100 trillion cells, and these cells somehow (and as yet, inexplicably) organized themselves into a brain, skin, teeth, a stomach, a heart, etc. Amazing!
There are miracles everywhere; we just have to slow down, take a breath, and let the wonder and beauty wash over us. It’s like being baptized and renewed over and over again.
When we get out of vroom-vroom mode, we can savor the simple pleasures in our relationships too. The warmth of your child’s small hand in yours, the sweet (or sweaty, if you have a boy) smell of your child’s head, the way your blood pressure settles when you curl up against one of your children. Heaven! Or when you and your spouse are having a “we’re on the same team!” moment, and you realize that the two of you have made this extraordinary commitment to share a life-your one and only life-together.
Just look at the family you have created for yourself, the connections you have made, the gorgeous circle around you.
Sometimes I get in that lit-up space and I can see the beauty vibrating around me, and I am so full of gratitude, my heart swells to ten times its size. But then, inevitably, I fall back into my old rhythms and get overwhelmed by the “small stuff:” the daily to-dos, the anxiety, the constant demands on my time and energy. I lose my patience, get irritated by every little thing, and growl frequently.
And then I think again of my friend’s dream, her life story fluttering by on fast-forward, and I know tomorrow is not promised. I want to try harder to live in that slow-burning, lit-up place of simplicity and truth. Right here, right now, life is so good.