The photo I chose to use for this column is of a moment in time when I was nine years old, but it may as well have been taken yesterday. It's not that I haven't grown, but the shrewd young writer pictured here is me, through and through, at just one point in the river of now.
However dynamic a person becomes in their lifetime, their consciousness remains relatively fixed throughout, from birth to death. Who they are doesn't change, but how they respond to external stimuli certainly does, or we would have a lot of bawling adults who didn't get their way!
Learning to respond, rather than to react, is a big part of growing up, but responsibility is a sign of growing outward as well.
When we are born, we are compact, filled with potential energy. We grow outward as we grow into our adult bodies, like a spiral, unfolding. Once we are done growing on the outside, we work on our inner growth (we hope), which usually involves giving of ourselves, until we are completely spent.
Do we really measure how we “spend” our lives in minutes, hours, days, weeks, years? Don't we actually measure it in moments?
When it comes to time, the moment is truly all we have. Time isn't as real as it is elusive. It does slip right through our fingers. Now is indeed a river - a powerful river.
We can only be in the moment, accessing the 'power of now', when we are not hung up on the past or worried about the future. We can forgive the past and we can pray for our future, but neither of those spiritual processes can be accomplished unless we are present in the here and now.
Some of my readers might remember this story. Before we moved here, my husband, my son and I were travelling back to Calgary in 2008 after visiting Weyburn for Christmas. We hit an icy patch on the Trans-Canada Highway and spun out of control. I can remember every single moment clear as crystal, with the car going around and around, from one side of the highway to another, as though angels were playing pinball with us.
Angels, indeed, were all I could see, in that moment. Heightened awareness kicked in and all I could do was calmly say a prayer of thanks and I praised Jesus for our safe return home. Indeed, much depended upon the power of that moment. My choice was obvious to hold my family up to the light and use my faith like the power it truly is. We create protection when we are fearless.
In that moment, my life didn't flash before my eyes. I pictured my family safe at home that evening in our condo, with our cats. I pictured our son as a grown up and I clung to that image.
Times like those are stark reminders for us to live in the present, to take nothing for granted, to take it all in - the good with the bad. Perhaps they also remind us to choose to create more good times, to do better with the little bit of time we do have.
Have you ever had one of those moments that felt like it lasted forever? Or one of those moments that you wanted to capture, but by the time you got the camera out, it had passed? Nowadays I just keep the camera in my bag and I take it all in, because life is too short.
I don't know if we can truly waste time - at least not by our own standards. Idle hands are no more the devil's playground than are 'busybody' hands. Busybodies are too busy to hold a sad friend, to prepare a proper meal for their kids or to pat their employees on the back for a job well done. Idleness not only gives us a chance to sit back and gain perspective, to see our lives from the big picture, but it provides much-needed recuperation from too much activity!
Being 'too busy' makes people feel important, doesn't it? Not me. I will feel most valuable when I have more time to be available when others need me.
While some consider it quite normal to be always on the go, 'the busy trap' is one thing I will be escaping soon with some big changes in my personal life. I'm jumping back into my own flow. My next column will be the last one I write as Reporter for Weyburn This Week. It has been like white water rafting at times, but I figure it's best to get off the raft before I go over a waterfall!
Let's revel in the moments, go with the flow and remember to come up for air from time to time. To stay afloat, fill up those lungs regularly, too!