It’s the last day of the year and gosh!, it seems to gallop into the home straight right after the Easter bunny has made his visit. Time to take stock, I suppose. That’s what everyone does, right?
At the beginning of 2017, the word meant to steer me through all circumstances this year presented, was “Awake”. Awake in everything. Awake to everything. Awake with everyone. It has been, as always, a year of learning. Being “awake” in the ups and in the downs, is not for the faint hearted. That much I’ve come to understand and continue to learn and embrace. As I await confirmation of the word for 2018, I reflect on the year past and what immersing myself into the tender and sometimes rough folds of “awake” has taught me.
Dr Seuss (in his simple brilliance) says,
“Sometimes you will never know the value of something,until it becomes a memory.”
This is perhaps the biggest lesson I’m taking from 2017 onward into my next. We’re always reminded to make memories or to live in the moment…all good and well. But this leaves me with questions. How do you really make a memory? What does living in the moment actually mean? When do you know that you are making them? How do know that this is the moment you need to remember? Can you have a memory without having had the moment?
I’m learning, the little things are the BIG things. Memories from childhood remind me of that. Running through the sprinklers on the lawn with my brothers as kids…wow! That used to be such fun. I had this yellow bathing suit, looking at old photos tells me I wore that thing way past its expiry date but I have my happiest memories in that somewhat too tight bathing suit. There’re also those other pics. You know those ones in our Christmas outfits. OMG! Did my mom know that decades later it would embarrass the crap outa us when we look at them?
I don’t think we knew we were making memories in those moments.
There’re also those regrets. Those “I should’ve’ or “I wish I” memories. I had ideas of how things were going to turn out but it didn’t always go the way I thought it would. And sometimes I beat myself up over it. Knowing that if I made a different choice in this moment or that one, the endings to certain chapters in my book would be different. But life is life, things will happen how it happens anyway.
Those memories that make you smile when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, are more often the ones we never saw coming.
Asking a random stranger for directions and ending up making lasting connections. Now that’s a memory worth keeping. Watching a plant grow through a crack in the concrete, against all odds. It’s a thing of beauty. A reminder that I too can thrive even in difficult circumstances. Watching your old clothes become ‘new’ to someone who had nothing. Moments that humble you and grow you at the same time. I’ve seen the sunrise over the ocean and setting in the desert. Majestic. But nowadays when I see glimpses of crimson and orange winking at me here in the concrete jungle, it’s a magical sight.
I’ve seen the pride of achievement in my son’s eyes when he aced a test. I tucked that memory away to share with him on the days when he finds it hard to believe in himself. I’ve heard my boys giggle in the bedroom after I’ve punished them for whatever and I smile when I remember my brother and I doing the same thing years ago. Visiting the parental unit, cooking with mom or having coffee on the deck with dad. Priceless moments that I took for granted many years ago. Now I’m just grateful I have opportunity to make memories of it, which I hope to share with my grandkids some day.
I’m learning that maybe the best way of making memories is to truly be. Just be. Awake. Aware. Present. Eyes wide open in every moment. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure it all out because then you’ll forget how to live.
So, as we get ready to journey into 2018 let’s leave the regrets behind. All the shoulds and coulds. Its unnecessary baggage that will slow us down on the road. Be awake. Be present with the people who are around you. Shine your light in to their lives and allow them to shine their light into yours. Don’t let the moments pass because you imagined something different. God is good and faithful and each moment He gives is filled with so much grace. Stop. Inhale and remember that every breath you take is your moment.
We never know when we’re making memories, after all.
Thank you 2017. And now I claim every good thing 2018 has to offer.