“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while,
you could miss it.”*

Life is a series of moments.

The moment you took your first step. The moment you fell and split your chin open. The moment you landed a job that filled you with purpose and confidence. The moment you had to say goodbye to someone you loved. That defining moment when you pushed yourself to do the very difficult thing that your heart was telling you was right.

Life is made up of moments like these, and I’ve lived a lot of them this year.

The year began with Karen and I finishing the final clean-out of the house my mother had lived in for 35 years, until she passed last year. The air was heavy with memory and loss. Emotions were tangled and veered wildly between the light and the dark.

In the spring we celebrated my father’s 95th birthday. A couple of weeks later we watched him laugh with startled joy as his great-grandson dove headlong into his arms.

In June I left a job and family of colleagues I treasured after 10 challenging and rewarding years. The next day, Karen and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. A few days after that, we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday, enveloped in a circle of love and promise for the future.

Days later we left on a trip that by design included a stop to scatter the last of my mother’s ashes at a special place of her choosing. Three days into our trip, we learned that my father had contracted leukemia. In the ten days following our return we saw him three more times, including the morning of the day he passed. We celebrated his life with family, in a place he loved, and scattered more ashes.

The following weekend we went to another memorial service. And the weekend after that, another. Three weeks after that, yet another. We went to five this year. Sometimes these moments arrive in waves.

Ten days ago I rocked our three-year-old grandson, singing him to sleep as his aunt, our daughter, sat quietly in the darkened room with us. It was a moment of sublime beauty.

Last Thursday we gave thanks for all of these moments with a group of Karen’s extended family, 28 souls in all, each of whom suffered losses or setbacks of one kind or another this year, all of whom were grateful to be part of the renewal represented by our gathering.

The thing about these moments is that the tough ones, the sad ones, the frustrating ones, they all pass. And so do the happy ones, the satisfying ones, the rejuvenating ones.

The only thing I’ve been able to figure out about how to navigate all of this is to try to inhabit each of these moments fully. Be present. Let yourself feel, as the young ones might say, all of the feels.

If we’re honest, much of the rest of our lives outside of these moments consists of distractions and trivia. These distinct, vital, amplified moments are what really matters. So do your best to meet them head on even when they’re hard. And understand always that, whatever you’re experiencing in this particular moment, chances are the next one will be different.

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* If you’d prefer to read this post in a Ferris Bueller voice, by all means go for it.