Today, I was going through my computer trying to make some space by deleting lots of photos we don’t need. The one above should be in the delete category, but there was something about it that stopped me from pressing the button. It obviously wasn’t the quality of the photo that paused my deleting frenzy, but it was the memory that came captured inside the blur. This was a photo taken last July, when we were given the unexpected gift of being able to go to Yosemite National Park with Danny’s sisters and their families.
The week this picture was taken we were having so much fun together; hiking, exploring, swimming and enjoying the beauty of both the scenery and being surrounded by family. We have lots of picture- perfect moments from this once-in-a-lifetime trip which will be stored, framed and gazed over in photo albums for years and years to come.
And, now I will add this one. The blurry, out-of-focus, black and white that will mean nothing to anyone else, but me.
I remember it so well, this morning. We had all woken up in the hotel room. Our bodies were tired and achy from all the hiking, and yet energized at the same time, with more sights to be discovered in the great outdoors. Izzy had woken up early and was so excited to lay (and jump on) the big hotel bed. Danny had made me coffee and poured Izzy some milk in the little white hotel cups so we could “have cappuccinos together.” Judah, who had just turned one the previous month, was playing with the little bottles of shampoo and soap, much to his heart’s content. We were laughing and having fun and when Izzy would laugh she would throw her head back really far and push her crazy bed hair out of her eyes. Then she would hug me tight, telling me how much she loved me, and I would kiss her little cheek and watch her eyes glow with the delight of just being together, feeling loved and being happy. This is why the photo is blurry; we were moving. All of us enjoying the present moment, even when the day ahead held a certain, more important air of the Yosemite Valley waiting to be explored.
So this is why, as I looked at this imperfect photo today, I just couldn’t hit delete. It reminds me that so often (or maybe most times) memories are formed, lessons are learned, character is built and love is molding lives, in the small insignificant moments in the day. The small moments become great moments when we value the time we have to give and love, teach and share. These moments are love in motion. When we speak with our whole life to those around us, the tone of our voice starts to tell full stories and the look on our face reveals the truth we really believe. The small, life-building moments that are sometimes hard to capture and even harder to define, are where the intents of my heart will suddenly show up.
As I write this today, it is my Dad’s birthday at home in N.Ireland. I have cherished childhood memories. They didn’t just happen, my parents made
them happen. My Dad lived the small moments with me wonderfully well (he still does). He was never too busy to play tennis against the wall, and it wasn’t just tennis against the wall – it was the Wimbledon final! He was never too taken up with a job to miss the chance to let me feel like I could be a help – and thus instilled in me that I was important, even needed and always loved. As an only child we have album upon album of my Dad’s wonderful photos; but honestly the greatest memories I have, we probably have no photos of because we were in the moment, living and moving. I still grin from ear to ear when I recall being chased by Dad (who was probably exhausted after a 12 hour work shift) with a tea towel in hand, throughout the house (until Mum came home from the woman’s meeting at church and I scrambled off the bed!) And still years later I can recall the made-up stories he would tell me as he put me to bed, always with a little moral on whatever I was going though, hidden within the story as the “kind girl” or “obedient daughter.” Jesus was talked about daily, not in an evening devotion, but by a life of devotion that spoke of Truth and Life. Eternity entered the small moments because my parents believed Jesus is present there, too, and one day we will present all of these moments, days and lives to Him. When we place our minds on eternity, it has a way of turning our perspective upside down. Small moments are no longer small. They can be wonderfully glorifying to our Heavenly Father, and that in itself is miraculous.
As I look ahead to the year that is before us, it will be filled with lots of these small, seemingly unimportant moments. Minutes, hours and days where the world is not watching. Tedious morning routines that don’t seem worthy of Facebook or Instagram, and I will have a choice as to how I will fill them. As a Mama, I face choices that will have a great impact on my kids. Setting them in front of a screen of some sort can be easy and sometimes necessary, but it can also make me lazy. I am challenged anew to get down on the floor and read a book, to listen and observe their little changing-too-quickly-faces, and to laugh, relax and let go of things that really are not important. To watch my tone and the way I talk of others, to encourage loudly and discipline prayerfully. I fail many times, many days, and many, many moments have been wasted; but I thank God for His continual Grace speaking into my life, asking me to seek Him and His power in the small moments, habits and disciplines of my days.
I don’t really make new year’s resolutions, but I think it is timely at the start of this new year to be aware of the small moments and what I will fill them with. For one day, it will be one small moment after another, that will lead me into eternity.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Happy New Year to you all,