Poet Cesare Pavese once said, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
Look at the past year of your life and you’ll see two or three “moments” that you will never forget – Experiences whether good or bad that will forever etch themselves into the patchwork quilt of your life.
This is why there is something about new beginnings that we love so much. It’s a time where we can move beyond the foibles and unpleasantness of the past, have a fresh start and do things better than before – A new season to reconsider old choices and habits, possibly replacing them with new ways of doing things. Maybe your conscience is flogging you with things you did or said, or how much time you wasted last year trying to run away from your life. Perhaps you went through a season where everything rushed past you like a bullet train and you are struggling to make sense of what just happened?
We are never more lucid, never more alert to the moment, than at the beginning of something new or at the threat of losing something old. This is why we enter new seasons with a new energy, focus, and promises to do better. We recognize the season as a moment heavily-weighted with possibility.
Albert Einstein offered a practical reason for the existence of time: “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
Time is a gift given to us so that we can experience the full breadth of life in all of its shapes and forms. What happens when you open all of your senses to what is around you – Not only your five senses but your spiritual sense – that faculty that goes beyond where science can take you. You begin to discover that these moments are more than a ruthless clicking metronome marking time and tempo while you slavishly struggle to keep rhythm. When you stop and consider what is around you, you realize that nothing is really commonplace, mundane or unworthy of your consideration. Every moment contains the kernel of the real and alive. Every moment is a gift in which we can notice or ignore, receive and take, steward or squander.
Why do we seem to notice moments after they have passed? Those we’ve had the experiences with are now resigned to our fond memories? It seems that the closer we get to losing those experiences, the closer we come to treasuring the moment.
When I have traveled abroad, for some reason that is the time where I most appreciate the moments I spend with my wife – The way she walks into a room, the things she laughs at that I will never understand, the stray curl that lays over her temple. Why do I have to be thousands of miles away from her to notice these things? Because it is in our nature to tick off the seconds and minutes and hours of time while unaware of the splendor that is in the moment.
Some see time as an enemy – as something they have to outrun, outwit, or cleverly manage in order to survive. But just as the Greek Orthodox worshiper sees encountering the Holy Trinity as joining a dance, so embracing the moment is like coming into step with life – Knowing that God orders our steps at every moment if we are willing to engage him in it.
“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;” Psalm 37:23
It is important that we do something with our moments and never be guilty with doing Nothing. Life is not about being enslaved to the relentless march of time, but about giving yourself to the moment.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23
Time’s enemy – Indifference.
The greatest challenge against us is not how little time we have but how little care we have for the time given to us. We become bored, not because life is boring, but because we have become blind to the wonder around us – the beauty that calls to us, the simplicity that beckons us away from our complexity.
Isn’t this what living is? Not just toiling from sunrise to sunset, but noticing the sunrise, and the sunset. Not just marking days, months, and years, but stepping into the series of moments with your heart – and capturing these moments, not by recording them with our devices, but by being there with our full being.