I click through photos on my iphoto. A reminscent ache comes into my stomach. Happy memories that have been. Sweet moments that have passed. Days that are no more. Even the seasons that in the midst I felt at my lowest still provide spots of great gladness that I won’t see again. The days pass and are gone. Life moves forward, always forward and never back.
I close my photos. I look up. I am here. Trying to stay warm in an airy house on the outskirts of a little mountain town. My husband reads plays next to me, preparing for his theater classes to teach tomorrow. Fall is turning into winter and we are learning the ways of a new life. The kitchen has just been cleaned after a meal of chicken, green beans and potatoes. The coffee maker is filled, ready to begin brewing tomorrow morning to greet me as we go forth into another day of teaching, coaching, nannying, and navigating this life.
Now is here. Now is what we have to work with. As much as I love to look back and remember precious memories, my desire is to look around now with the same enthusiasm. I want to remember now before it is gone.
You only pass this way once. I heard this whispered to my soul on a hot July day. We lay on park benches drying off from a tubing escapade down the river in Golden. The trees above me couldn’t be greener, the sky a piercing blue. I read a book on writing, he read a book on acting. The moment was perfect. And I knew we were only passing this way once. I looked long on the trees, each leaf being noticed. I glanced continually out of the corner of my eye at my husband. I held that moment in my hand and appreciated it in its fullness. Because I knew it wouldn’t last – we would move, the season would change, upcoming challenges would arise – I held it even closer.
Perhaps that is the key to cherishing the current moment without being drawn backwards by nostalgia. Perhaps it is recognizing the temporal state of now, of acknowledging the fleetingness of today. We weigh down the moments by recognizing the moment. By acknowledging the presents of the present. The present won’t always be here, so treat it like a present. Make these moments sink in by giving thanks. (Credit goes to author Ann Voskamp for opening my eyes to this life altering truth.)
I have been busy with anticipation for the Christmas season. Ideas for gifts, decorations, traditions, and crafts with the little ones I take care of have been at the forefront of my mind. And much as I embrace my love for Christmas as early as the first frost, now is not then. November will pass into December. And I am bound to look back at pictures from this time and wish I had given more thanks for what was now.
You only pass this way once. This day is not repeated and what is now will soon be no more. Recognize the moment. Recognize and give thanks. Remember now with that sweet appreciation before it is gone. Don’t let nostalgia be the only thing that stirs gratitude.