AND Behold

December 15th, 2013

 I wandered downstairs last night. All the lights were off except the little white lights on my tiny Charlie Brown Christmas tree and one candle in the window. Each little ornament on this humble tree has a special story associated with the gift giver or place where it was found. As I stood for a moment in the dark room with the little tree, I smiled. The simple little tree shining its lights in an otherwise dark room cast a warm glow throughout the room. The experience of that moment was peace and a warm heart.

I am quite aware as I write this to share my experience with you; I am depending on my memory of the experience that touched me. AND like any memory, the story I tell myself is only what I stored. It is, at best, an incomplete picture of elements of an experience that touched me at the time. AND all our memories are no more or less than that—recollections of experiences that are incomplete, and therefore mere stories we tell ourselves.

Some people tell themselves horror stories about experiences and then relive them throughout their lives, thereby cementing the incomplete story as truth. Others store picture book stories that may bear no actual resemblance to what happened, yet somehow also feel true. AND, as a result of these memories, they search their entire lives for opportunities to replicate the ideal experience that they have stored in their memories.

Memories can warm our hearts. They may be wonderful stories we tell ourselves. However, time spent recalling memories is a journey to fantasyland. Focusing on memories disconnects us from what is actually happening in the present moment. Life happens in moments, simple, beautiful moments. For as long as we live, we are invited to partake in whatever is happening in the moment. We need only be present to experience the gift of the moment.

Yet, given today’s propensity to constantly snap pictures on smart phones to send to others to share a moment, we are deluded into trying to preserve moments. The focus on preserving moments distracts us from learning to behold the beauty of what is happening in the present. If we were to live for the simple, beautiful joys offered in any given moment, we might tap into the magic around us. We might enjoy what we have before us rather than look for how to “make it better” or “make it last.”

The season of gift giving, in which we now find ourselves, reminds us to behold the gift of simple experiences, some of which are heartwarming or otherwise beautiful. If we slow down to experience AND behold each moment, trusting that any energy we spend trying to hold on and make the moment last is wasted, we will be able to receive the gift that is actually unfolding in front of us.

If one simple tree with its tiny lights can light up a life in a moment, I wonder what other magic is afoot this season?

Comments are closed.