It’s not a lot to ask; to ask if someone can spare one moment of waiting while we try to help connect them to the person they want to speak with.
Neither is it a lot when we ask those in our lives to wait just a moment. A moment while we finish typing an email, sending a text, watching a short video, brushing our teeth, walking into another room, tending to a chore, taking off our coat, or any of the other hundreds and hundreds of things we do in a day, each of them taking just a moment.
Each of these little moments is nothing really. They fly by, sometimes despite our impatience. Every day is filled with them. Often, at the end of a day someone might ask us, ‘What did you do today?’. And often, we are stumped for a moment. We can’t think of anything big, or significant. We can’t think of an adventure we had, or a funny moment we witnessed. We didn’t go to a special place or tackle an overwhelming job. We know we were busy, and yet, nothing jumps out at us. We know we had a day. Possibly even a decent day. But we can’t think of a thing. And yet, our day was filled with moments.
I have always believed in the preciousness and the power of a moment. When I was teaching school, this concept was reflected back to me over and over. Countless times during and after my career, a student, sometimes one long graduated, would contact me. Sometime during that conversation, they would say, ‘I’ll never forget the time you ….’ Often it would be some single thing I had said. Sometimes it would have been something I had done. But almost never was it something that would have been considered earthshattering. Almost always it was something that happened in one single moment. These conversations were always humbling, for most often I had completely forgotten what it was I had said, and I certainly had no idea of the impact of my words.
In the past month, I’ve been focussing on moments. This isn’t brand new for me, but I’m really sharpening my lens. Nothing in particular caused this shift, but I keep getting reminders that these little bits of time, these little moments, are what make up the absolute best parts of our lives.
It’s possible my hiking friends have helped me make a change in my perspective of moments. When we are deciding where to hike, we use macro thinking. We check out the weather, the conditions, the difficulty, the distance, and possibly the view from the top. Yet once we are on our hike, those are not the things that we focus on. And once we finish, those are never the things we remember most vividly. Instead, it is the moments that remain with us. It’s the moments of noticing fresh tracks in the snow, of seeing a little waterfall created from spring run off, and observing how the suns rays filter through the trees. It’s standing in the spring sunshine on top of the last bits of snow pretending to smoke, blowing smoke rings of cold air, and laughing until we cry. It’s walking along when suddenly one of us says ‘listen’. And we all listen. To the beautiful silence. It’s the tiny moments of conversation, letting us know we have allies as we walk through life. It’s standing at the top of a mountain and saying thank you; being grateful for the friendship, for the peace, for beauty and for the little moments we might have hurried past had any of us been on our own.
It's possible that Jim’s mom’s precarious health may have honed my desire to treasure moments. It’s also possible the speed with which our grandjoys are growing has added to it too. I’d love it if time could stop, so I wouldn’t have to face the inevitable changes that come with life, the growing up and growing old. I recognize I can either play the losing game of trying to keep everyone just the age they are now, or simply breath in, and appreciate the moments.
Last week, we offered to pick up our daughter, Kaitlyn’s, car once it had had the windshield replaced. We had Ben and Andy with us that day. When the car was ready, I suggested to Jim that he and Ben might like to take the bus, then the C-Train, to pick up the car. The train stop was just a couple of blocks away from the repair shop. When I asked Ben if he would like to go with Grampa to do this, he said, “Yes! I would LOVE to do this! Gramma, I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
There it is. What for us, might simply have been an exercise in logistics, of who would drive who, of what time would work so as not to interrupt Andy’s nap, of whether we had car seats in the right cars, of how to fit in a ‘job’ in a day we try to protect for fun, turned into a moment. A moment of joy at hearing his response when he was invited to go with Grampa. A moment of sharing the thrill of riding public transit through the eyes of a little boy who loves anything with wheels. A moment of making a memory, when the moment could so easily have been missed.
One night this week I took care of the boys while their parents attended a meeting. Upon tucking Ben into bed, he reminded me to set his ‘sun’ clock. I’ve only done this once before. Kaitlyn walked me through the process step by step. I told Ben I didn’t remember how to do it but that I’d write a note to remind his mom to do it when she got home. He said, ‘It’s ok Gramma. Sometimes old people forget things. And you are old. So, it’s ok that you forgot how to set the clock.’
I’ve been laughing about this ever since. In my mind I’m not old. Likely in the eyes of two little boys, I’m well past young. Once upon a time I might have felt offended. Now I’m just grateful. My memory of how to set a sun clock may not be sharp, but I have an exquisite ability to recognize magic moments.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What moment are you standing in?’.
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 find out how create and cherish moments.