I’m not sure if this is a Life Lesson or an “Aha” Moment, but it is a way of thinking that has made a difference in my life. I’m wondering if it resonates with anyone else.
A few weeks ago my husband and I were sitting outside, enjoying the second longest day of the year. We spend summers on a gorgeous lake in northern Michigan and the night could not have been more beautiful. The lake was calm and unusually quiet for this time of year. So quiet we could hear voices and music carry across the water from the opposite shore. An occasional boat would go by, the crows would offer up a few of their obnoxious caws, we’d see bats in the sky, but it was pretty much just the two of us sitting by the fire and talking about everything.
Our kids. Our next adventure. Our siblings. Our friends. Our good fortune.
And then I said, “Quick. Give me your hand so we can mark this moment in our memory.” Dave said, “What do you mean?”
I replied, “Right now. In this moment, all is right in our world. We have our health. Our children are healthy, happy, and successful. We have a beautiful granddaughter who is one-year-old this very day. We have wonderful friends. At this moment in our circle of family and friends there isn’t any drama, divorce, disease, or dying going on. Let’s just remember this moment.”
Dave hesitated and then he said, “Don’t speak too soon. Just about the time you think everything is fine, something comes along to unwind it.”
Like most people, I’ve had dark days. Sometimes those dark days stretched into weeks and then months. Those were the times in my life when I felt as if I was walking through heavy, wet sand and couldn’t find the paved sidewalk. But I knew if I didn’t keep putting one foot in front of the other, I’d never find solid ground. So I kept going.
It’s not possible to go through this life without experiencing dark days. I know people who have gone through unimaginable tragedies that are almost impossible to comprehend. And when I ask them how they made it through their darkest hours, they simply said, “I just kept moving. Numbly. But I had to keep trying even though it was the last thing I wanted to do.”
And every one of those people are on my mind whenever I have a moment like I had a few weeks ago. Their stories remind me to be thankful for the peace in my life at that very hour. I am aware that lives can change in the blink of an eye and life as we knew it will be a memory.
So, how do we get our arms around that?
For me, it’s to recognize the moment. Cement it in my mind. Be thankful for the calm. Take a deep breath and just be.
And know that even though a day will come when there will be miles of heavy wet sand to walk through, if you put one foot in front of the other, eventually you will find the pavement again.
Where do you start? You just start.