We are in the final stretch of the year. Those last days that move us closer and closer, here in the Northern Hemisphere, to the longest night.
It is a time of reflection. Of savouring what light appears on the horizon. Of gentle contemplation of ‘what was’ and ‘what can be’.
A question I like to savour throught the final days of the year is, “What have I learned this year that has enriched my life?”
Recently, while chatting with a friend about age and the relentless marching of time, she shared something she’d learned about treasuring ‘beautiful moments’.
Like me, she became a grandmother for the first time this year. For her, it is bittersweet as her granddaughter is in another country. Much further away than my beautiful grandson.
Distance doesn’t matter, she said. I treasure the beautiful moments. The time spent with her granddaughter earlier this year when she was born, and the moments in between the next time she’ll see them at Christmas. She spoke of the FaceTime calls, the late night calls with her daughter, and the early morning ones too when her daughter calls to ask for support.
And she spoke of the past. Of watching her daughter grow into the incredibly beautiful woman, mother and wife she is today.
As she spoke, I imagined a beautiful string of pearls encircling her neck in a circle of love that is her life. Each pearl represented a moment worth treasuring — and her necklace was full and heavy for she is treasuring every moment.. And yet, sometimes, we miss so many moments of beauty, she said.
“If I had known the last dirty diaper was the last one I would change when my daughter was little, I would have seen the beauty in that diaper,” she said.
There is beauty in every moment. If we knew that this was our last moment to treasure, how would we see it?
From where I sit at my desk this morning overlooking the river, I can see headlights crossing the bridge. Unseen drivers speed towards downtown and destinations unknown. The sun has not yet appeared above the tops of the trees that line the riverbank just outside my window yet the sky above is slowly lightening. My paintings cover the walls surrounding me, their vibrant colours the expression of my creative core that I have cast upon the canvas. Beaumont the Sheepadoodle lays sprawled out on the sofa behind me. Mark Bordoni plays his classical guitar softly in the background to the quiet hum of the morning. I am surrounded by softness, light, colour, gleaming wood and the streetlight casting reflections that dance on the water passing by beneath the bridge outside. I am surrounded by beauty.
If this were my last moment, this is what I would see.
But it’s not and I continue typing, grateful for the time it took to appreciate the beauty all around me.
When my father had a heart attack in 1995, we had two days to reach his bedside and say good-bye. When my brother and his wife were killed in a car accident one and a half years later, we never had the chance to say fare-thee-well. We didn’t know our last conversation would be the last. In the wake of that fatal crash, all we could do was gather together in a distant city with the people they knew and share in the memories of everyone who came to their funerals. In those memories of strangers, I saw a side of my brother I didn’t know. A man who was a good friend, a generous neighbour, a caring father. Through their eyes I saw the beauty of my brother and was reminded that I was blessed to have called him brother.
We do not know what the next moment will bring. Yet, when we fill this moment with beauty, we create a foundation of beauty upon which the gift of the next one can unfold.
I am so blessed in this life I live.
Last night my beloved returned from a four day ‘football marathon’ he takes every year with a friend. He came home filled with stories of his adventures. We laughed and shared stories of his travels, even though the hour was late.
My home, my heart, my life is rich with love and beauty. I treasure the beauty of this moment and breathe into the possibility of the next. With each breath, I am filled with the gift of life.
There are so many gifts and moments that have taught me lessons of loving and living this year. But the most treasured is the gift of life. My grandson taught me that.