When I first wrote this post three years ago, I was just processing and pondering the moments of life I saw literally rushing before me. I sat down and just poured this stream of thought from my heart and left it in this blog post. I was convicted and moved and ready to pay more attention to the bittersweet moments.
But as the months went by and no one read the post I started to wonder what the value of reading this post would be for the reader. Would anybody really get it? Would anyone need to read the depths of my heart. Could I make any difference with a post like this? I moved it to draft and left it there for a very, very long time.
Today, I was looking for something that I could put on my blog that spoke to me, and I found this. I’ve brushed it up a bit and I’ve added some takeaways. What would I do differently? What do I do now to savor the moments? I’ve listed ten ways you can savor the moments of life at the end of the post.
I was pushing my littlest boy on the swing today. He is very likely my last. And, it suddenly occurred to me that my opportunities to push him on the swing will be gone in a flash. He and his twin brother are three-and-a-half. Both can almost swing themselves. Almost… but not quite.
At first I got all excited thinking about how soon I will be able to lounge on the park bench while they swing (and swing and swing). But then I felt it. That inescapable twinge of sadness. Knowing almost for certain that these precious boys are my last, I am content. Most of the time. Every once in a while I glimpse a moment of precious time and find myself wanting to slow it down.
I’m not sure why I’m even writing about this.
It’s something about Honey Crisp Apples. They are so good, so delicious. So sour and yet so sweet. So crisp and so comforting. I buy fifteen at a time when they are in season and we eat every one. I have one in the fridge chilling right now. I am trying to savor every apple in preparation for the months ahead without. Sadly, Honey Crisp Apples are only available for two or three months of each year.
It’s something about autumn. The slight chill in the air (even here in Southern California!), the crisp winds, the early dark nights. Something about autumn is comforting and draws me inside to my family and the comforts of home. Warm soup, blankets for snuggling under, and tangy pumpkin cookies dripping with frosting. Mmmm.
It’s also something about pushing 40. Wanting to find a body I can grow old in. Wanting to soak up these last precious days with my teenager growing up so fast. Wanting to erase all of my mistakes in a flash. Wanting to love better and hold on longer. Wanting to be something more than what I am.
It’s all got me pondering these things that we savor in the moment and miss in a flash.
And yet. I’m resting in my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Here are ten ways to savor the moment instead of watching life rush by.
Take the time to plan special things. I know – it can be so hard. During seasons of life, I have had to let this go. However, when I look back I regret the lost opportunities to make special memories with my family. And the older I get, the more I want to be purposeful about planning memories. Whether it is a special meal, a day away at an apple orchard, or just snuggling on the couch with a book – be an intentional memory maker.
Don’t forget to take pictures. I am preaching to myself here! So often we get together with friends, or take a last minute hike, or we spend an entire week visiting family and at the very end I realize I’ve forgotten to take pictures! Be the picture taker.
My eldest son was recently in a leadership training class for church. One of the questions they asked the boys to discuss was “What kind of person makes a good mentor?” My son’s answer? “Someone who listens to you and is there for you when you need to talk.” I’m not sure that is an exact quote because I wasn’t in the class. The leader shared this with me afterward – that she was so blessed to see my son actually leading by doing exactly what he said made the best kind of mentor as he worked in Vacation Bible School that week. I don’t know why that convicted me so much. Maybe because I worry that I am not one of the people he had in mind! Be a listener.
One of the facts of life in the Northern Virginia area, and I think pretty much anywhere these days, is that we are all moving so fast. We run to church, run to sports practice or band or guitar lessons or ballet, run to meetings and charitable fund-raising events, and, well, we just run everywhere. To really savor these moments we have with our spouse, our children, our family, and our friends — these fleeting moments — we need to slow down. Take the time to visit. Share a meal together. Take time off from work instead of letting your vacation days go to waste. Pause the queue.
I’ve noticed a trend recently in this family. It seems like everyone is always staring at a four by six piece of hardware. Or maybe it’s a 40″ piece. And always lit up. Maybe you can relate? Does everyone in your family have at least one hand-held device and are the people in your home enjoying far too much screen time and not nearly enough vitamin D time (outside in the sun) OR face-to-face time? (And I’m not talking about the FaceTime handheld variety.) Take a stand for sanity and put the electronics away.
Tonight at AWANA as we walked in the door we were greeted by a little girl offering us Operation Christmas Child boxes. My boys wanted to grab them right away and start working on filling them. This is a precious tradition they remember from year to year even at just seven years old. I just wanted to put down the stuff I was holding and come back for boxes later. But of course I forgot. A sweet thing happens in families when we serve others together. Whether we are looking for fabulous gifts for the boxes, running a station at Feed My Starving Children, or filling up zipper bags for the homeless, something priceless and eternal is happening in the hearts of our children and even our own. We’re taking our eyes off of self. Have a heart to serve.
Laundry. It’s a never ending task, so why try to get ahead? It’s always going to be there. Of course, that’s because I have six kids in the house. If I only had one child I could probably do laundry once a week and I’d feel differently. Maybe I need to get rid of some clothes though. We probably don’t need to the ability to let two weeks of laundry build up before we “catch up.” What I really need is a system that works for an easy going homemaker. Systems can help you get the necessary evils of housework done so that you can get on to more important things. Like impromptu Nerf gun wars with your boys. Find a system that works for you.
I might have trouble saying “no.” I want to help! In fact, I love to help and I am absolutely convinced that I was made to help others. Nothing makes me happier than being the solution to a problem. You know what? It’s no wonder I feel like I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions and getting nowhere. I wonder how many of us have crowded schedules and busy lives simply because we have put too much under our umbrella. We aren’t the solution to every problem ladies – that’s GOD. If you do not have time to make memories with your family or listen when they talk, maybe it is time to let some things go and say no to good things.
I read a magazine article in a doctor’s office a few years ago which stated that the single best predictor of lifelong success was whether or not you regularly ate meals with your entire family at least a few times a week. Wow. The family bond is a powerful thing! I’m sure this article has bias, and yet I’ve read similar things many times since that first article. And it wasn’t a *Christian* article either. It was Family Fun Magazine. Sometimes the things we think are the least important will actually give our kids a level of security that empowers them for greatness. The family meal time is being forgotten in this crazy world of drive-thru everything. And that’s a shame. Savor your meals together as a family whenever possible.
“Mom, when are we going to Isaac’s house again? I love Isaac’s house so much. I love Isaac and Greyson and all my cousins and my aunts and uncles. Can we go back?” Peter – today at age seven. Visiting extended family teaches our kids the value of extended family in our lives. If you never visit Grandma, do you think your kids will bring your grandkids to visit you? I don’t know about you, but grandkids are a moment I want to savor as much as possible! But you know what? Right now I want to savor the time I have with my mom and my dad and my sisters and brother and my precious in-laws. They are special people God has given me relationships with. And being in relationship is one of the things we were put on this earth to do. Visit your family.
I know everyone has heard the phrase “The family that plays together stays together.” and I certainly think there is some truth in that. But I want to leave you with one final thought that I think is even more powerful. And it’s not really one of the ten ways to savor each moment. It’s kinda the umbrella that covers them all. The undergirding of our families. Pray together. Because the family that prays together — really truly prays — that’s powerful. A praying family brings hope to the world through Jesus. And that’s something to savor.