“Moments are strung together…carefully woven into the tapestry of life.”—Matt Knisely
I recently experienced two powerful moments that have deeply impacted me.
They happened within the same week and I wanted to record them in the hopes that they might serve to light a fire in your heart and wake up something that is asleep in your soul.
*****The first moment concerned my mother. She has lived with us since 2012 and it has been a joy to have her here.
I am not speaking out of line when I tell you that she suffers from severe clinical depression. (She is very open about that fact because she is passionate about making sure that people do not feel shame for taking medication that is necessary to live a rich and productive life).
It alarmed all of us when she suddenly seemed to begin to disappear into herself about a week ago. She became withdrawn, slept quite a bit, looked pale and did not have much to say. An appointment was made with her doctor to address the issue.
The night before she was to see the doctor, we all gathered for dinner around our big table. My husband had grilled some steaks, which is her very favorite food.
(Quick side story: This is a running joke in our family. On the way home from Disney World one year, we stopped at an Outback Steakhouse. Everyone was famished and my mom ordered the filet. Once it was served to her, she proceeded to make a string of noises that signified her absolute delight in the deliciousness she was experiencing. This prompted my brother to ask, “Would you like to be alone with your steak?” :) To this day, we tease her about that. The woman loves her steak!).
However, this night was a different story. She exhibited no enthusiasm and ate very little, leaving most of the meat on her plate before going to bed. She did not join in on any of the conversation that swirled all around her.
At one point, our eyes met across the table and there was just nothing there. No sparkle, no joy, just a blank look. The moment passed when she looked away and picked up a piece of bread.
A lump formed in my throat, my eyes burned with tears, and my heart pounded.
“What if she doesn’t come back?” my mind screamed. “She HAS to! I have wasted too many days!”
Too many days when I have been too busy or too tired or too stressed or too distracted to spend time with her, to share a story or a laugh, to take a drive, to cook a meal.
I have been given this time with my one and only mother as a gift! How can I sleepwalk through that?! How can I treat that so lightly?!
I needed to WAKE UP!
And I have. I am delighted to report that the new medication is working and Mom has come back to us!
As I write this blog post, she is happily entertaining fellow widows from our church. It was such a huge joy for me to see her busily setting up the table with her favorite china and teacups earlier today. The sun shone on all the Thanksgiving decorations she has displayed and the lemon cake was proudly displayed on a decorative cake plate.
Mom has a tremendous gift for hospitality and entertaining and it truly is a joy to behold when she shares that gift with others.
I am so incredibly grateful to have her back with us and I am done taking these days which are sheer gift for granted.
Look around your life. Who are you tending to take for granted? Time with our loved ones is a gift. Don’t squander it. Be intentional. Pay attention. Make the effort. Tell them why you love them. Celebrate the moments. This time will not come again.
*****The second powerful moment occurred two nights ago when Mom told me about a conversation she had had with an old friend. This lady had always dreamed about being a writer. She published a few articles in Guideposts, but her big dream was to write a novel. She had joined writer’s groups, and done lots of research on her novel, even went so far as to interview various people on the subject.
But she never did write that book.
And now she is at the end of her life, living in a nursing home and she knows that that dream will never become a reality.
I felt like a bucket of ice cold water had been dumped over me in that moment.
I have a couple of very specific dreams for my life.
I will be 50 years old in a few months.
Have I made some progress to making those dreams a reality? Yes, I have.
However, once again, I was confronted with how much time I have wasted on the non-essentials, acting like I have all the time in the world.
I don’t. And neither do you.
I don’t want to be at the end of my life in a nursing home and have to live with the knowledge that I never achieved my dreams during my short run on this planet.
We ALL have a story to tell. We all have a God-given talent to share with this world. We all have a unique voice. We all have a passion. We all are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).
I ask you today: What steps are you taking toward your dream? Do you even know what your dream is? If not, it’s time to find out.
Do not let the days go by in a blur. Stop just thinking about your dream and start moving toward it. Set manageable goals. Challenge yourself. Don’t let fear hold you back and steal your dream away from you. What do you have to lose?
This is your chance and today is your day!
“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.”—Catherine of Siena
Poet Mary Oliver closes her poem The Summer Day with a question that is also the perfect ending for this post:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”