“Usually, those moments don’t last long; they come and go like ocean breezes. But sometimes, they stretch out forever.” From “The Last Song,” by Nicholas Sparks
I just had an incredible weekend, and it has left me with deep conflicting emotions. It was over too quickly. I feel impotent. Did I do as I should have done? No, I want to get rid of the word “should.” Was I in sync with God? Was I effective? Did I leave a footprint?
What remains is the memory of moments. And I just hope that I invested myself in these moments enough to make them meaningful. Because if they are meaningful, they will somehow last. The weekend will have been worthwhile.
So I recall the moments to impress them on my memory. And if I articulate them, they take shape as not just phantom impressions , but as landmarks —
*Relaxing outdoors with the family while the kids play, the colors so bright, the breeze blowing.
*The incredible encouragement of young disciples who are enthusiastic and passionate.
*Small moments of connection to new and old friends. Talking one-on-one on the porch. Putting my hand on someone’s shoulder. Bill smiling proudly over his Brunswick Stew. Tia so happy.
*Ken playing the guitar while we loaded up the table with a bounty of fresh grilled chicken, corn and vegetables.
*Talking a prayer walk with my daughter, a sacred miracle of being together with God.
*That last song at church, where we were all dreamers, members and visitors alike, mature disciples and young ones, yearning to bring more people to the inexpressible goodness that is Him.
*Eating dessert at the Crepe Myrtle, and it seemed like everything came together and we enjoyed life’s sweetness.
Life can deplete me, but meaningful moments restore me, especially moments with God, when I am outdoors, away from everything, surrounded by green foliage, the sound of birds and a stillness of the wide open sky that always speaks of hope. In that spiritual quietness I can heal and hear whispers of the Spirit that inspire me. “Your compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3)
It is the best time of the day, the time we take to pray.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
I believe Jesus also relished his private moments with God. In addition, I believe he was strengthened as well by meaningful moments in his ministry. After he talked with the woman at the well in John 4, Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” It was sustaining to him. He treasured the spiritual awakening of this woman, and of the Samaritan town.
I must commemorate the moments of spiritual awakening that I see in others. A night ago I heard some incredible statements by someone who is coming to know God and see Him more and more. I can’t take this for granted. It is sacred, a miracle I participate in.
Here are some other scriptures I’ve thought of —
“And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15 Jesus needed to have meaningful moments with his disciples.
“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” We can destroy the moments God wants us to have by being distracted.
I think why I get the deep conflicting emotions is because it is so hard to hold onto the moments. They slide so quickly through my fingers, and though I try to drink them in, I am worried and distracted and I only catch a glimpse of them before they move on. I am left with a jumble of impressions and unresolved feelings.
So I look back over the pictures, the physical ones I have taken, and the ones in my heart. I catalog them, enhance their meaning.
And I resolve to prioritize and try to focus on the most important things, that I will sit at Jesus’ feet and soak in the moments.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”