It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps. —Sharon Draper (Children’s author)
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. —Rabindranath Tagore
The month of May is full of activities with graduation ceremonies, Mother’s Day celebrations, Memorial Day picnics, garden plantings, or events in remembrance of those who have passed.
At my daughter’s graduation ceremony, I reminded myself to pay attention as she celebrated this life milestone. Even with that intention, the weekend flew by in a blur. In fact, it seems like — from the day she was born until this afternoon as I watched her posing for pictures in cap and gown — it all went by in a blink. Perhaps that’s why we take so many pictures. We know the moments don’t last, and try as we might, we can’t stop them from moving on. It’s like standing in a rapidly flowing stream and trying to cup the water in our hands. Even while we drink in a few precious moments, the days nevertheless pass quickly through our fingers.
So, what can we do about this ever-elusive passage of time?
We can recognize that our time here is brief. As we spiral back to memories of the past and imagine forward into future possibilities, we also work hard to stay in today — knowing that now is all we ever have. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
Remaining mindful of one or two things a day may be enough: Remembering to say gratitude each morning or each evening. Noticing the sunlight shimmering brightly on the water. Drinking a cup of hot coffee on the porch while watching a squirrel scurry along a limb. Listening to the woodpecker, Blue jay, or mocking bird songs.
Yes, graduation ceremonies, Mother’s day brunches, and Memorial Day gatherings are big events. But they pass. Our lives pass. Those we love pass. We celebrate with grand gestures – as we should! Significant milestones matter. Yet, it is the small things we remember: The sun was out that day. My son (or daughter) suddenly looked so grown up. My mother’s laugh made her whole face light up.
We hold on to a smile, a song, or a feeling because that is the way of life.
For me, at the end of the day — as my daughter headed into her apartment with her back to me — she called out, “Love you mom.” That’s my sip from the stream of our busy, hectic, celebratory weekend.
Hold on to those small things, even as they slip through your fingers. It’s okay. Put them in your heart where they stay — long past all the millions of things that never really mattered.
In joy & gratitude,
Diana J. Ensign, JD