In 7th grade, I sat in my middle school classroom of unruly students. We had a substitute teacher which gave the kids a license of sorts to act up. To this day, I remember the teacher. She said something that has stayed with me to this very day. As the class talked out of turn and did all kinds of disruptive things, the substitute calmly said, “don’t worry....you’ll want this moment back one day.” She was saying that we would later wish for the opportunity to treat this moment differently.
My thoughts took me to further and deeper interpretations. Did she mean that we’ll wish for a time when we were this age again? Or maybe that snapshot of life meant that certain people were still alive or maybe we’d be faced with an awful situation where we’d hoped that we were anywhere but in that moment.
Throughout the years, my mind has wandered over that sentiment. What about any given moment would I want back? Having experienced loss, good and bad times, or even for the sake of just plain old nostalgia, I have indeed longed for moments that have passed.
How I would love to have a conversation with my mother again. Or if my best friend was still alive, I wonder what advice would she be giving me or what would we be laughing about. If I had a chance to look in the five-year old face of my now 17 year old son, how would I respond to him knowing that time would grow him up faster than the cliche says? How would I make each moment count?
First, I have to ask why do we even miss certain moments? It could be because we are too busy, too distracted or maybe we get comfortable thinking we are guaranteed another chance to have a moment again. In other words, we take our moments for granted.
When we find the gratitude in the moments we get, we become more present. We make each moment count. Maybe that means putting our phones down to engage with our loved ones. Or it means taking a breath to bring our awareness back from our drifting thoughts. It could be savoring humor and allowing a laugh to linger just a little longer, or taking a picture to preserve that minute or...it could literally mean thanking God for that one slice of this life.
Moments come and quickly leave. What goes with them can either enhance our lives or take something with them. Gratitude helps us intentionally notice what is happening in our lives and then be thankful for it. For the cherished moments that we often miss, may we always notice them - the first time.