Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Little Wonders

Our lives are made in these small hours - these little wonders - these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours - these little wonders still remain.

Back in June 2004 I had the opportunity to participate in a tour at Disney World called "Dolphins in Depth." The three hours was devoted to learning about the dolphins, their anatomy, their training sessions, and their conservation (and conservation of marine life in general). Approximately 30 minutes of those three hours were spent in the water with the dolphins. I had always wanted to simply touch a dolphin. Touch one, that's it. And here I was, in a wet suit, in the water with two dolphins. There were eight of us on the tour and we split into groups of four and each group was with one dolphin. While my group was rubbing down a dolphin, he opened up his blow hole and sprayed me in the face. A couple of teen girls from the other group saw and were "eww"-ing themselves to death, while I stood there laughing and smiling. We all received photos of us and our dolphin and after the tour ended I told Wes that nothing could ruin my day. I couldn't stop smiling and my cheeks hurt tremendously. When I brought the photo to work after returning home, one of my coworkers commented on how truly happy I looked. I can honestly say that it was one of the happiest moments of my life and thinking back on the experience still brings tears to my eyes. Some people have looked at me like I am crazy..."it's just a dolphin and it was just 30 minutes!" But it's a really big deal to me.

I have wasted too much of my life looking for the next grand moment...the moment that will sweep me off my feet and take my breath away. You know, the moments that are Grand Canyon-like where my husband all of a sudden transforms into the hero from some chick flick where everything he says and does is perfect. But that isn't reality. The reality is that my husband and I are both sinners and we don't have someone writing a script for us where we can always say the right things at the right time. My life isn't a series of one grand event after another. It's a series of small events that have grand meaning in my heart. Yes, there are grand events that have happened in my life that were truly some of the best moments of my life. Getting married would be one of them. But I've also found that I need to pay attention to the little moments...the moments that may mean nothing to someone else or may not last very long. I can't let the moment pass, I need to treasure them because I can never go back in time and relive that moment. Sure, I may have similar experiences in the future, but I will never relive that exact moment in time.

I am camera happy and one of my favorite photo subjects are my guinea pigs. I spent about an hour on the bed with Eggnog one day as I snapped photos of the two of us together. Not the easiest thing to do when you're holding the camera with one hand and you have a critter who is anxious to explore. So many of my pics came out blurry. But I love them because it captured a moment we had together...a moment that I felt peaceful and happy. My favorite picture of that day was captured right when he licked my nose. It's horribly out of focus, but I don't care. I will never forget the feeling I had when he turned to kiss me. The same is true for the little moments I share with Wes. I'll never forget the feelings I have when I get an email from him, or he picks a little flower for me, etc. Those moments just seem to make the bad go away.

Grand moments are awesome, but it's the little moments that make up most of our lives. We need to focus on them, not ignore them while waiting for the next big thing. Don't just stop and smell the roses. Study that rose, know it, remember it....cherish it.

All of my regret will wash away somehow,
but I cannot forget the way I feel right now.

Dolphins in Depth photo by Disney

Eggnog & Mary photo by Mary
"Little Wonders" lyrics (in italics) by Rob Thomas

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What time is it?

I'm currently reading Terri Irwin's book called "Steve and Me: Life with the Crocodile Hunter." It's such a bittersweet book, reading about all these happy and lovely memories, but knowing ultimately how it's going to end. One part caught my attention in specific...when Terri and the kids were in Tasmania and Bindi had purchased a new watch. Out of nowhere, Bindi looks down at her watch and says "it's twelve o'clock." They all stopped to consider that it was twelve o'clock and moved on. Soon after, Terri received the news that Steve was killed...and time of death had been twelve o'clock, the moment Bindi looked at her watch and called out the time. Earlier in the book, it was mentioned how Steve had fallen off a piece of machinery as though something knocked him happened to be the very moment when his mother was killed in a car accident.

I thought back to the day my grandfather passed away. How we received the phone call from one of my aunts around 4:30am telling me his breathing had changed and we needed to get out there. We got up, got ready (and I grabbed extra clothes so I could stay with my family a few days), and headed out. Being that the drive was around 45 minutes to an hour, we had to stop at a gas station since we were low. I was feeling quite panicked, and found it difficult to even breathe. While Wes was pumping gas, I looked at the clock...5:15am. All of a sudden a wave of sadness came over me. The panic was gone, I could breathe normally again, but I was overwhelmed with sadness. We finally arrived at the house around 6am or so and my mom came outside to meet me. She told me he died at about 5:15am.

And even though I never knew this man personally, I can recall all the details going on when I learned of Steve Irwin's death. It was late and I was tired and was ready to go to bed. Wes was already asleep and all the lights were off and I was on the computer wrapping up. I was about ready to shut down the computer when I just felt an urge to stay online for another hour. Being that it was already around 12:30am, there wasn't exactly a lot happening in the online world so it made no sense for me to think that I needed to stay up that extra time. But the urge remained so I played around on Yahoo games for awhile, bored out of my mind and wanting so bad to go to sleep. Approximately an hour later, I got off the games, refreshed my home page and a picture of Steve Irwin appeared with a blaring headline that read "Crocodile Hunter feared dead." A few minutes later, another headline appeared confirming that it was, in fact, Steve Irwin who died. While he had passed away over a day prior to the headline appearing, we were just receiving word of it in the States. I remember covering my mouth so I wouldn't wake up Wes with my sobs. But it brought me right back to when I was sitting at a gas station, looking at a clock that read 5:15am.

It's a bit eerie, isn't it? To have a moments in which you don't know why you're noticing something or feeling something, but you just notice it or feel it. But sometimes I wonder if this is God preparing us for moments that we need to be ready for. Moments that can rock our world, moments that seem to suspend reality for God cluing us in to what's ahead? And don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about some psychic ability. That would be absurd to peg me as that kind of believer. But I am not ruling out the possibility that God can and some times does do things that are clues to what we need to be ready for...particularly if it's something that will deeply affect us.

I had no appetite when my grandfather died. We all went out to eat that day as a big family and I couldn't finish even half of my meal. I remember a comment being made to me that I should eat since someone else was paying for me. But I just couldn't get the food down...otherwise it would come right back up. I could barely sleep for days and when I did sleep, I had dreams that haunted me. Though I never knew Steve Irwin, I cried for days on end after his death...being that what he did was something I felt so deeply about. I'm sure many of those tears were also from unresolved grief over my grandfather. However in the midst of both of those situations, and others, I was comforted by the knowledge that somehow, at particular times, I had been prepared. I was prepared for a storm I was about to face. I won't sit here and pretend that my sadness over Steve Irwin is matched with that of the rest of the Irwin family. Hardly. But I bring it up because of my own experiences of noticing the time of things...and seeing how others have experienced it as well when it was mentioned that Bindi took notice of the time.

Do I believe that God will always give me some divine revelation prior to an event or right at the moment of an event when I haven't yet learned of it? No. But I do believe there are times when God gives us a sign in order to prepare our if He were saying "there's something you need to's a small insight." And not that I believe there's something going to happen every moment that I want to know what time it is...but I've also learned to not ignore something God is very clearly putting in front of me.

Photo of tv preview by Mary King (me)