Thursday, May 14, 2015

Defining Moments

We all have special moments, defining moments, moments that will live in our hearts forever. I have a few special moments in my life, scenes that will live forever, well, at least as long as I keep them in my memory. I’m sure I’ve had special moments in my childhood that I’ve forgotten, but there are some that are still precious and with me today.

I’ve had some exciting moments too, like the time I jumped out of an airplane… that was exciting. While I remember those, and the excitement that went with them, those still don’t compare to a few moments that melt my heart and bring me to tears.

Here are few of my special moments. They’re not in any particular order of importance, because they’ve all changed my life in different ways.

#1 – about 5 years old. I’m lying in the vibrant green grass. The sun beats down on me and feels like a warm blanket. A tin pail sits beneath a water spigot on the side of a dilapidated barn, and crystal clear drops are dripping in rhythm. I smell honeysuckle in the air. Clucking chickens strut across a dirt road. I watch an ant carry a piece of white through a maze of green. I roll over and stare into the big blue sky, make shapes out of the white puffy clouds, and watch the black birds soar. I feel so small in a great big world, so insignificant, so alone – yet, I know I’m not alone, that somewhere beyond what I can see, touch, smell, taste, and feel is something bigger than me, something that made everything - even me. I want to know the real thing. I want to know what the trees know. I want to know what the birds know. I want to know what the ant knows. And then I want to know more. I ask, “Why am I me? What is the truth?”

This was the beginning of a journey I still walk today. Those two questions have changed my life so many times and in so many ways. I still don’t know the answers, yet I diligently seek them. I’m still that 5-year old girl who doesn’t understand the life she’s been given, yet tries to make the best of it the only way she knows how – honestly.

#2 – about 2 years ago. I’m standing in a living room of a home I raised my family in for nearly two decades. I’m looking around at all the things I’ve collected, pictures, books, furniture, games, etc and I ask myself, “What do I want?” I had meant to ask what “things” I wanted to take with me, but instead I heard something else. My mind cleared, yet filled at the same time. My heart ached. I was facing the truth – a truth – one where I didn’t have an answer. Who am I? What do I want? I’m not a wife anymore, my husband didn’t want me. I’m not a mother anymore, my kids no longer needed me. I couldn’t hide any longer behind taking care of others, because there was no others to take care of anymore. I had to face the one I had neglected all along, and she was angry, she was hurt, and she was now in control.

#3 – yesterday. I’m hanging out with a friend, someone I love, admire, and adore with my whole heart. There was a moment when I was watching him play his video game and the world stopped. It felt like it was in perfect alignment and at perfect peace. It was just a moment, nothing special happening, just an average moment, like one I’ve had a dozen times before. Yet, there was something different this time. The light scent of coconut oil, the sounds and whirs of the game, the warmth of his arms holding me, a laugh escaping from my lips, a heartbeat, life. It’s like a curtain was pulled back for just a second to show me that life was made for these kinds of moments… free of expectations, free of demands, free of disappointments, free of troubles. Happiness, true happiness, isn’t in anything we could obtain, any goal we could reach, any obstacle we could climb. Those are all great and they bring on their own version of joy, but for the first time in a long time, I was at complete peace with just being me. I wasn’t at war with the girl inside. I don’t think it had much to do with the friend that was next to me, but more to do with the friend that was in me. Too bad that moment only lasted a few seconds, but it’s now one of those precious moments I’ll treasure forever.

So, what are your special defining moments? I have others, some are great and magnificent moments – birth of my children, my first publication, graduation, starting my own company, jumping from an airplane, experiencing lightning at first sight and first kiss, meeting a great love at the airport, exploring a new world, surviving a hurricane while at sea, finding out the love of your life has died, etc, while others are small yet just as powerful – playing games with my kids, reading to my kids, watching my kids sleep.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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