I just came home today from an amazing two weeks on vacation. I first was able to welcome my husband’s family to our home. We only see them all once a year, and so we really look forward to them coming. We are not like a lot of our neighbors here in Utah who have tons of cousins and extended family very close by. My kids have two cousins on my husband’s side and one on my side. With us having 4.5 kids, we are holding up the baby-making end of both families. But I digress! The point is we LOVE our family time. The kids always seem to pick up right where they left off and we all smile in the midst of mayhem with 5 little boys running around (and my daughter shaking her head at them). We adults like to chat and hug and just hang out. I love watching my husband in his natural element with his brother and parents… it gives me a glimpse of what growing up was like for them. We enjoyed Christmas together and all of the busy-fun craziness before and after.
We then hurriedly cleaned, did laundry, packed and headed off to New York to get together with my side of the family. My siblings are stretched out all over the country from Washington DC to New Mexico. We can’t all get together often, but we all made it work for this trip. My parents are moving away from my childhood home next summer, so this is the last time we will be together in this memory-filled place. We packed in as much as we could We played games, made and ate lots of food, talked late, ran around to different activities and laughed a lot. Run, run, run, hurry, hurry, hurry.
One night it hit me. A spiritual impression that was at once beautiful and sad at the same time.
This time is a GIFT.
A gift that is shiny and beautiful and sparkling, and may not ever be the same again. A gift that is treasured. When we receive something magnificent under the Christmas tree, we open it, marvel at it, and find a spot for it in our regular life so we can remember it. We can’t sit and grasp that gift to the exclusion of everything else around us, no matter how perfect. Life is fluid and changes all the time. But the mere MEMORY of that gift is enough sometimes to bring back the wonder and awe.
Will we have time like this again? Will we make memories like this ever again? Of course not. We can’t hold on to time and make it stick. But that night, I resolved to immerse myself in this gift while I have it, even knowing I will have to put it on a shelf for a while. I made sure I was fully awake and aware of everything and everyone. I made sure I didn’t get lost in my own thoughts and think forward or back, as I often do. Just knowing this gift couldn’t stay in my hands indefinitely made the colors brighter, and laughs ring out longer in my mind. Every night I said prayers full of gratitude for this gift of time.
I don’t know exactly what the future holds. It will hold joy and sorrow, I just don’t know when each will come. But I will have bright and shiny memories of the marvelous time I got to spend with my beloved family in these short two weeks. I have a feeling I will need to take those memories off the shelf from time to time to reconnect with a place of strength and happiness.
One song on my album, “Storm before the Calm,” is near and dear to my heart because it reminds me to not get lost in the mist of darkness. The dawn will come again and again. Sometimes just remembering the good times is enough to bring us strength. I hope you enjoy it.