Friday, May 17, 2013


He came running, arm outstretched, face excited while tightly gripping something he couldn’t wait to show. Before nearing close enough for me to see, my 3-year-old shouted, “Mom, I found the most adorable pinecone in the whole wide world! Look!” Slowing to a stop, Josh carefully uncurled his hand. Nestled in his palm was, true to his claim, a tiny, most adorable pinecone. “Isn’t it so cute, Mom?” He looked up, eyes wide, eager. Speaking more about my boy than about the pinecone, I agreed. “Yes definitely, Josh. The most adorable in the whole wide world.”

He grinned, found the pocket of his jeans and, with decidedly less care, shoved in his treasure. Off he went, in search of more.

Watching, I felt that oh-so familiar ache: these light, playful pre-school days are passing and I’m spending so many of them rushing. Even in this very scenario, I’d almost rushed the boys straight home from school and not allowed them to explore, pausing here and there, discovering things on our walk home. Why? We weren’t late. Why does rushing so often seem to be the pattern of my day? 

The ordinary moments often bring the greatest joy. But in the rush, they’re also the moments easiest to miss.

It's a question I’ve asked before, written about before: why do I rush through so much of life, through so much of this thing called motherhood? I’m not late, but always rushing; I’m on schedule, but somehow missing the whole point. There are ordinary moments of relationship and beauty--adorable pinecones waiting to be discovered and enjoyed--at every turn in the path. How many of these treasures do I miss because I’m rushing along, impatient, unwilling to slow down?

Parents of small children know it to be true what they say, that when the days are hard, they sometimes pass slowly. But the months and years, they fly away. Still we hurry on, rushing our way through time, wishing the hard days to pass until, with a sudden pang of regret, we remember that time can never be slowed down. It is only us who can slow, even as time speeds along.

The passing of time marks our lives, and the only way to way to enjoy the months and years is to cherish the gift of each today.

My little ones are growing and changing and I again ask myself that corrective question: Am I growing in wisdom and counting each one of these days as the good gift that it is?

It's become easier to ask the honest, painful questions. Is motherhood sometimes profoundly hard? Are there days when our sin taints everything we touch and the picture is ugly, broken? Is sorrow a part of the true picture of motherhood? These questions are real, and the obvious and honest answer unites us. We no longer desire to paint a picture of our lives where everything shines.

But there is a question that should be framed above all those other real questions: Do I see that today is a gift from above? Do I believe that this day, even if it’s hard, is a gift meant to be enjoyed? 

Earlier this week at the ballet studio where I teach, I couldn't help but watch the face of a mother as she stood watching her beautiful teenage daughter dance. This mother’s expression was an exquisite blend of love, joy, and sadness as she watched her daughter’s athletic but graceful body soar through that studio. I was curious. “You never grow tired of watching her dance, do you?” She paused before answering, eyes filling with tears. “It’s not just that. It’s not just that she is so beautiful. It’s that she’s leaving soon, dancing, away from me. She’s growing up. And I’m just going to miss her so much.”

Time passes and we join our voice to the lament: Where did the time go? How is it all passing so quickly?

But there is today.

This day, it brims with the possibility of life shared and hearts bound together in love. This day is a gift, even if it’s a day that has been really hard. 
What will I do with today? Will I slow down enough to receive the gift? Will I stoop low to see tiny, adorable pinecones in the palm of my child’s hand? 
This is the day He has made for us. Will we rejoice and be glad in it?