I admit it: Despite the fact that I’m all for savoring every gift I’m given, and speak often about it, sometimes, I get irritated by people…
These are people urging me to “seize the day” or “live in the moment” or “make the most of the time you have, because time goes so quickly”... Because sometimes, life being “too short” and time passing “too quickly” is neither here nor there, when you’re up to your eyeballs in it and hanging on by the skin of your teeth for it all to stop and give you the opportunity to rest.
I remember feeling like this especially often when my children were very tiny and all three of them were at home, most of the time. The days when I was their primary career, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and … It. Never. Stopped. I love - and loved - being a Mother, but sometimes, the opportunity to make every moment count gets swallowed up in the sheer exhaustion of getting through the moments until bedtime!
Having said all that, “gathering moments” is something I try to do - even if they are gathered from across weeks or months. I remember, for example, when my youngest baby really was a baby - a week old or so - and I held her, sitting on the palm of my hand, her tiny, soft, baby-hair-downy head nestled into my neck and the warmth of her spreading into my skin, the sound of her snuffling sleep right up close to my ear and I thought, “This is a moment I will keep,” and I memorized it - every single facet of it. The house wasn’t tidy, it wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t all peaceful (with two other children under the age of three and a half running round, it was almost never peaceful!) but I wrapped up that moment and squirreled it away, to be taken out over and over again in the years that followed.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says that “Mary treasured up these things in her heart”, and I like that idea. That when things are full-on and intense and exciting or difficult or stressful, we can take the important bits and hide them away. That, having done so, we can then take them out again for contemplation, at our leisure - that we can build, over a lifetime, a treasure house of moments.
It’s impossible to live fully engaged in every single moment. It’s not healthy to feel guilty or inadequate because of that - despite what the social media memes might say. What is possible, though, is to make gems of moments that sparkle, in amongst all the mundane pebbles of hours and days, and gift them to ourselves and those with whom we share them: moments that will shine in our transient lives as memories, until the end.
by Ruth Calder Murphy
Making moments like presents,
gift-wrapped in sunshine and storms,
twilight whispers and song-soaked dawns.
Making moments -
like baubles made of souls
or lifetimes of whimsy…
Making memories out of flimsy
like dandelion down, down memory lane
and catches on the branches of life is but a dream.
Making moments on the banks of gently down the stream,
moments made of presents, futures and pasts;
memories and histories and nothing-ever-lasts…
Making memories like bubbles,
floating on the breeze
- out and away like blossom, like leaves,
they live and die,
beautiful as the day, transient as a sigh
- transient as I.
Ruth Calder Murphy is a writer, artist, music teacher, wife and mother living in London, UK. Her life is wonderfully full of creativity and low-level chaos. She is the author of two published novels, The Scream and The Everlasting Monday, several books of poetry and one or two as-yet unpublished novels. More of Ruth' Spiritual poetry can be found in her book, Spirit Song and the soon-to-be-released sequel, "River Song". She is passionate about celebrating the uniqueness of people, questioning the unquestionable and discovering new perspectives on old wonders. She is learning to ride the waves that come along—peaks and troughs—and is waking up to just how wonderful life really is. You can visit Ruth and view more of her art on her website, or on her writer's page on Facebook. All her books are available on Amazon, here.