It’s interesting how life changes when you try your hardest to grasp each day as if it won’t last. Don’t we all instinctively know this truth? Nothing lasts? We know it but we don’t live it. I didn’t. I rushed my babies through the newborn stage, through their toddler years, through the 3-year-old bliss, I was in a hurry to see them grow. I was tired, worn out, stressed. I hadn’t yet realized deep in my soul the truth that it wouldn’t last. Now those baby days are distant memories, and I’m awed at how fast that time really does go, despite the clichés.
Today I’m sitting on a sandy beach watching three big kids play. They’re digging sand castles and jumping waves. Squeals of excitement meet the sound of crashing waves. Daddy scoops buckets while the kids give architectural advice.
The sun is warm on our faces and I’m blessed and I’m rich in warmth but am I fully here? I ask myself the question as I gaze at the scene in front of me. How can I be sure to stop long enough to realize the gift before me? It’s intentional, that’s for sure. ‘Stop. Breathe. Look around you.’ All this, the beach, the sun, the sand, the children giggling all out glee. It’s moments like these I wish I could stop all time and freeze us here. Right here.
The little girl with her golden braid, the youngest with his sound effects, and the eldest with his droopy swim shirt and heartfelt analysis of the granola bar nutrition label. I smile so wide to myself that I wonder if I look weird. Like those people that walk down the street all happy for no reason.
But this moment, happy as it is – it won’t last. It is so temporary. My moments are temporary and your moments are temporary and the whole of our lives is made up of little, tiny, temporary and fleeting frames of time. Each memory making up the story of us.
I learned this truth from a wise friend – if we want to stop time, we need to enter in. Because when we fully enter into the moment with the full weight of us all there, the clock slows just a little. It really, truly does.
I remember and I stop to crouch low. I hear the sound of little hands patting the tops of sand filled buckets and our littlest one’s voice saying, “Daddy? Is that gonna be the bottom of the castle?” I bend lower, closer to the ground than the kids even, tummy to sand. This is their perspective. This is their world. And it’s fleeting.
Alex whispers it to me: “Play with me, Mama…”
He hands me two knights. I get two and he only gets one because one of my guys has a chewed up sword. Apparently, according the a sweet four-year-old imagination, it wasn’t chewed but actually teleported. I laugh out loud. I could have missed this moment. I could have been lost in my phone or my book or my notepad or some other place.
I touch his head. My heart flips. They won’t want to build castles with me forever. This just can’t possibly last. There will be no second chances at entering into this very moment. This season is gone in a heartbeat, and I better choose to enter into it wholeheartedly. Not tomorrow. Not later this afternoon. Right NOW.
Though these realizations seem solemn, they are powerful and profound. We know it instinctively, but we need to know it soulfully – now won’t last.
Later we jump more waves and I get the chance to hold little hands and gaze at smiling faces. Sandy bums waddle to the shore and giggles are heard soft and sweet. I’m reminded of the song that speaks of our lives being a wave, tossed in the ocean… a whisper in the wind. Like this moments… whispers. Whispers of God’s love, whispers of grace. And that overwhelming whisper to stop everything and enter in…
Play in the sand.
Get a little dirty – get in the moment and weigh it down… slow the clock and make it last as long as you possibly can.
Our time may be temporary, but we lean towards the eternal. All is gain if all is invested in eternal things – love, relationship, truth. When we fully embrace this moment, we enter in to something so much bigger than ourselves…