Today, in the midst of my absolute craziness, I was given the gift of a little sacred moment in an unlikely place. And, as far as I’m concerned, those are the best sacred moments, and usually the ones we need most.
After my haircut this morning, I ran into the library to grab a book waiting on hold for me, the whole time thinking about how I didn’t have a spare minute for any of these errands and activities. As I headed back out, I looked down the side hallway in the library’s entry and stopped short.
From my spot just in front of a table set with a Menorah at one end and a Nativity at the other, I could see a little boy, no more than 3 years old, standing in front of the open vending machine while a delivery man restocked it with waters and juices. His mom was standing a few feet back watching quietly.
The boy was mesmerized, gleeful over something the rest of us wouldn’t even bother to notice. He couldn’t pull himself away. It was as if Santa Claus himself had shown up. Can you even imagine feeling that kind of joy and excitement over something so simple?
It took me back in a flash to my early days as a mom. While I stood there in the hallway, unable to move from that spot, my mind saw a young Noah standing in front of the “air doors” at the supermarket, hoping for a chance to be the one to make them open. Or Noah jumping up and down outside our house in Texas at night, arms stretched toward the sky, saying, “I can’t reach the moon.” Or Noah running around in a Texas-sized rain storm amid our banana trees in the backyard (see photo above). Or Noah so fascinated by electric fans that he actually asked for (and received) one from Santa for Christmas one year.
In that library moment, I was given a glimpse back into my own life –a little like Ebenezer Scrooge — to a time when I seemed to be able to focus more on my children, a time when I wasn’t pushed to the point of breaking by work deadlines and projects that make my youngest child wish I could be somebody else, somebody who doesn’t work so much, somebody who has time to just stand there and let her marvel at something instead of rushing her into the car or into the house so I can get to the next thing on my list.
The mom at the library looked over at me a couple of times, wondering, I’m sure, why I was staring, so I said, “He reminds me of my son at that age. Now my baby is almost 16.” And she smiled politely and answered, “Goes by fast, I guess.”
Yes, it does. It goes by fast. And we can never get it back.
If you were going to look back on this moment, this day in your life 12 or 13 or 50 years from now, what would you hope to recapture and relive? The project you’re doing right now, the floor you’re mopping, the shopping you’re doing? Or your child reaching for the moon, your spouse dancing with you across the living room, your own face filled with peace and joy and satisfaction? Go make a memory worth keeping.