I understand our common use of this word to mean incredibly beautiful, or exciting or even surprising. This week, because my view of the world was so biased, I began to think I would be alright without too many breathtaking times in my life. What I’ve been craving are breath giving, life giving moments.
Let me give you some background on me. I’m not exciting. I love routine. I struggle with being surprised. I love to be self-sufficient and competent. I enjoy hard work. I’m not the life of the party. I don’t like crowds but I do love people. I don’t crave danger and I don’t even like the edge, never mind living on it! And yet I love having my breath taken away.
I’ve been making a mental list of things that take my breath away. Everyone has such a list. None of ours are exactly the same. Breathtaking moments are so personal. Some that make my list are:
Standing in the silence of nature.
Listening to a piece of music that makes tears roll down my cheeks.
Listening to Andy count to four this week. Four cows. Lots of people can count to four. But knowing he is healthy, and happy, and achieving normal milestones, is overwhelmingly breathtaking.
Climbing a mountain and standing with our group, not saying a word, but breathing in the friendship, the beauty, and the unspoken majesty.
Hearing Ben giggle uncontrollably when he hears a funny phrase, exactly the same way his mommy did a lifetime ago.
Singing with my sisters.
Listening to snippets of life stories of others, and understanding the value of the gift of their trust.
Being perfectly in-step with my dancing sisters as we execute one of our long-practiced dances. Looking down the line I’m in and catching the eye of another dancer as we joyfully delight in the fact that our bodies can still perform magic. This is breathtaking.
A perfect moment in a classroom, with everyone focused together, the thoughts and sounds of the outside world silenced but for a moment.
Sitting at a crowded table with our family, sharing laughter and food together.
Crossing the finish line of a race with my son, Greg.
Sitting in a hospital room sharing memories, hopes, dreams and fears.
Sitting with my cousins in my cousin Brians barn.
Watching my children, now adults, enjoy each others company.
Going for a horse drawn sleigh ride in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Holding a hand. Sometimes the comfort of Jim’s large hand, sometimes the pure bliss of one much smaller.
A few minutes of conversation with Shirley as we wander around her farm.
Watching Kaitlyn navigate being a mother with such grace.
Biking with my brother.
These are but a few. For me breathtaking moments have never cost much money. They aren’t often showy. Most often, a passerby would not know I was having my breath taken away.
This week, even though I was resisting having my breath literally taken away from me, I understood why such moments are so important. It is only when all the breath has been sucked out of our lungs, that the perfect conditions are created to fill them again, to renew us, to breathe in new life, to be filled up.
We were visiting Shirley this week with Ben and Andy. We always take some cookies to share with the guys working there. When it’s cookie time, we head to the shop and everyone takes time to have a cookie and visit with Ben and Andy. As we were leaving, we said goodbye and thank you. Tiny Andy, not quite two, is learning to string together two, sometimes three, words. He needs to pause between each word, taking a little breath and making each quiet, little word distinct and important. Codey, who always has time to show Ben the latest project he’s working on, said goodbye. Andy giving a little wave said, “Bye-bye Codey”. Such a sweet and gentle moment between a tiny boy and a kind, kind man. Breathtaking.
I wish for you breathtaking moments in the upcoming weeks. I’m going to take next week away from writing to fill my lungs and take time to notice the breathtaking moments in my world.
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups and has expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to notice breathtaking moments.