Moments can make us or break us, teach us or beat us down. I pretend to be a glass is half-full type of person, trying to see the positive and focus on what I have or the big picture that is painted with beauty and hope and love. But my sensitive and introverted nature sends me in another direction. I often find my attention focused on the moment in the day or experience that went awry. I dwell on those in the quiet. I rethink and reimagine and wish for something different. I rewrite the exchange or reaction or situation and ruminate on that rewriting, which leaves me looking back instead of forward. It causes me to focus on a part of something instead of the beauty of its whole. And as I look back on a day, those moments that almost broke me are what I remember. As I spend time in my mind looking back I am hard pressed to let those moments leave my mind and slide off my back. They threaten to take away the bigger sense of wonder and experience that is within my reach and still I repeatedly find myself focused in reverse, ruminating.
This was made clear to me and that clarity has provided me with some perspective. Recently I was talking with a friend that mentioned how wonderful the day of my daughter’s high school graduation had been, and it was. There were celebrations and joy and smiles and intensely proud moments. And while the bulk of the day was wonderful, the picture that popped up in my brain was a moment of tense words that were exchanged in the heat of trying to make a decision. Unfortunately, as we talked about Emma’s graduation day, what kept coming to the forefront of my mind was that moment and the feelings that followed it. But that is not what I want to remember when I think about that day, so my challenge is to look at the rest of the day and view it as a whole and not the sum of its parts.
Just like days and moments of time, I also wish to be seen as greater than the sum of my parts. Our parts include our habits, responses, thoughts, actions, beliefs, emotions, decisions, and everything else that goes into life on a daily basis. I would like to be seen as greater than each and every one of those things, because in each of those, I fail, daily. But I learn and grow and reflect and progress. I become aware of what I would like to change and attempt to change it. My challenge is that I should be focusing on the progress and not what sent me to need the progress. I should be focusing forward and not backward. The past cannot be changed, but our current circumstance will change, because nothing stays the same.
I should be focusing on the progress and not what sent me to need the progress.
There is a difference in looking back with rumination and looking back with reflection. Reflection enables us to look more at the larger picture, the whole, the experience, the general feelings, the actions that were taken and the participants as opposed to the one moment when a part of our sum was out of whack.
Moments are important. When we are present in moments, they touch us, bless us, grow us and teach us. Our presence in moments needs to be coupled with an understanding of the greater sum, the greater whole that is available to us through God’s love. That love involves redemption, forgiveness, quiet depth, comfort, and a plan. What if I looked at my moments in that lens and not in my rumination lens? If I made that choice then each moment my life would echo the lyrics of a worship song that rings in my head and heart as of late.
‘Who the Son sets free, oh, is free indeed. I’m a child of God, yes, I am. I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who You say I am. You are for me, not against me, I am who You say I am.” -Hillsong
2018 was a tough year and I enjoyed bidding it farewell, however, as I reflect back I see moments. Moments of love and hope and support. Moments that I would not trade for the world. And moments make up the places where my mind goes in the still quiet and dark of the night.
I don’t want to waste a moment in rumination. I want to see my life as a beautiful painting with each stroke brushed in the knowledge of who I am and the moments that got me there.
By His Grace