“Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.”
We’re all given a spark in life. Some say this starts with conception. Through modern medical instruments, at the very moment a sperm penetrates the egg, a spark can be seen. Perhaps this is the beginning.
Regardless, this is life, and the spark we are given is the beginning of a journey that may span a century. Throughout this time we are all witness to such perfection every single day that we’re able to take a breath.
Though this may go unnoticed all too often, we are still sitting upon the greatest seat, in a position to watch life’s perfection unfold before our lives. In our own personal spheres, we are invited daily to engage with life, to be a part of this mystery and to dream of more days to grace our lives. Yet, so many of us do not engage fully. We simply sit and watch as the seasons pass along a continuous cycle, distracted by life and paralyzed into inaction.
This is life passing by, and in watching this happen, we should all be ashamed.
But we should all be reminded of the perfect moments that have shaped us. It is those subtle moments, when we are entranced with a peace that pervades our very existence, where we rarely notice how perfect a moment can truly be. At our young ages, these moments fill our lives but are only understood after we’ve grown older. If we’re lucky enough to recall these moments, we are then able to see that spark; the undying fire that all men carry in their hearts.
I can recall my first perfect moment with clarity, but I’ve only been able to recall it as such now having nearly completed my 40th year.
But it is within hindsight that we are given our greatest gifts.
I was eight years old and it was warm. Suburban Oklahoma was my home then, and my family lived in the newer part of a young, developing subdivision. Our house sat at the bottom of a hill. Standing on the front porch you could see open fields that spanned nearly a mile.
From my house I could also see my school, and the adjacent wooded area where there was a hidden pond that I wasn’t allowed near at the time. I rode my bike to school and back along with many other kids my own age. For me, it was a time of being care-free, free from the burdens of worry and want and knowing nothing about the struggles of adulthood. My world was one of wonder, and I explored the neighborhood, the fields and other hidden places every chance I was given.
One day while exploring my world I’d found a hidden treasure. Though it was not so hidden at all, the peace surrounding it is just as serene now in memory as it was then in person. In the schoolyard along the perimeter lived a hefty pecan tree. The branches were thick and grown well, and they hung low enough for a child of eight to freely climb. It was a strong tree, and the shape of its bough had grown so as to offer a seat. The ground below was littered with fresh fallen pecans, almost as if beckoning to be gathered and eaten.
That day, having passed by the tree on many occasions, I stopped and looked about the ground and decided to have a treat before riding home. School was out, and the yard and streets were quiet. Only the sounds of birds and cicada permeated the silence.
I gathered the best shaped pecans I could find, and stuffed my pockets full. With a few pulls and a bit of swinging I managed myself up into the tree, slightly hidden by the thickets of leaves, but overlooking a branch I was able to see the entire schoolyard. There I sat crunching my pecans and nibbling away, literally without a care in the world.
The sense of peace and perfection I felt then is nearly indescribable. And though I wasn’t completely aware of what this meant at the time, I was subtly aware of how calm and comfortable I felt.
The breeze was warm, and I was in a perfectly grown tree-chair. I sat there enjoying the afternoon, and after I’d finished the pecans I sat longer, closing my eyes and just listening to the sounds of life around me.
It was a perfect moment, and the first perfect moment that I can vividly recall in my life.
Now nearing the end of my 40th year I’m reminded of not only my first perfect moment, but of a great many of them, strung along as pearls and forming the structure of my life’s view.
Without these moments life might not have ever seemed so sweet and dauntless, nevertheless they all serve to remind me of what I desire most, and correspondingly of what we all truly desire; attaining that perfect moment, capturing it into our hearts for eternity.
This is a place where we all wish to dwell permanently, only if we could.
But, as our youth fades, we begin to build walls and subconsciously form limits of belief. Where once we believed we’d grow up to be an actor, an architect or a psychologist, the world crashes in with doubt, logic and distractions and then that dream—for some—crumbles away against the wall of limitations.
This wall we build only for ourselves, as though forever the mason of our own stone prison. Thereafter, our perfect moments become fewer and fewer until one day we barely recognize the simple beauty of a walk near home, or of a sunrise as we scurry off to wage slavery.
Only in recent years have I come to understand the importance and have developed the reverence for appreciating the moment. As some might contend, the moment is all we ever really have; that life is just one long continuous moment suspended in a time structure that we’ve built for ourselves.
Perhaps it is true, that time is but a necessary illusion; an illusion with purpose. Regardless, our moments make us who we are. They invite us to experience, to feel, to understand and to emote. Life is a moment, and a moment contains all of us; all of life.
Perhaps we all have a few pecan trees of our own, just as we all may have a favorite place of solitude, an escape from life that refreshes our hearts and recharges our soul. Perhaps this is a memory, or a physical place where we perform our introspection.
In retrospect on my life, I can fully say that without acknowledging those precious gifts, I might as well be floating on a random breeze, swept up in chaos and blind to the beauty of existence. For it is within our own hearts that we truly find our home, and how to get back.
I invite all of you to find your pecan tree, to sit and be at peace, to know and to remember what true happiness feels like.
As we are born of love, it is our birthright to know love.