You know those moments in life you wish you could bottle? The ones that make your synapses zing and your nerve endings tingle? The fleeting moment when you stand in awe of just how precious life is.
– When winter light falls on our city just shy of dusk and, from an elevated view, houses seem to drink of it until their windows glow. Within, people are busy cooking dinner, bathing kids, debriefing after a long day, getting schoolwork done, lighting the fire, laughing at the dog. The tender motions of normal.
– When you’re right and he’s wrong and the verbiage flies back and forth like a tennis match, only the projectile is heaving with increased breadth and ugliness, gaining speed and venom until you don’t remember the point you were trying to make, let alone what started the argument in the first place. You rub the palms of your hands down your jeans as if the friction might reignite your angry passion but instead, stealing a glance at your forever and always, you both start laughing, a wonderful cleansing noise that dissolves like Aspro, sending up bubbles of relief. And then you make love.
– When your baby falls asleep in your arms and you are privy to every silken sensation of her; the way her face is slack with trust, her tiny fingers, her skin soft as a kitten’s ear, her weight abandoned to you, her breath coming and going in warm puffs, her body nestled against you like she doesn’t belong anywhere else but here. You could stay like this for a very long time.
– When you stop. Completely stop. And, as if cataracts had been removed from your eyes, you see with new clarity. The trill of birdsong, the effect of crisp air on warm lungs, dew and frost and spider webs, the raspy murmur of trees waving from their heights, velvet mountains in their regalia and sunlight infiltrating the dawn. Such beauty.
– When there is absolutely nothing you can do and the reflexive responses of worry, panic and hysteria, you reject. Instead, you step back, surrender and invite peace where the strangling vine of hopelessness threatens to asphyxiate. Peace like a balm enlarges your courage and shrivels defeat until, standing at the other side, the triumph is realised in the character your trial shaped within you. You’re a better person.
– When the bud of life is watered. As you pour yourself out in cultivation of life, you are enlarged in appreciation, experience and resolve of the things that matter.
– When you tried for so long, wearied yourself with trying and then, frazzled and defeated, you gave up, pivoted on your heel and walked away. You found a way to live without that yearning thing that held you for so long. And then, it happens without you pressing and stressing, in a timing of its own that can only be described as good and right.
– When family is gathered around the dinner table and those seated pass banter with as much goodwill as the host does the roast lamb and gravy. Talk is loud, overlapped and intertwined, humming and bubbling with stories of milestones, journeys and dreams. And the minutes melt into hours.
These are moments soaked in God’s presence. Explain it differently if you like but the result is the same: heaven clasped within our soul if only for a breath. And where there’s heaven, there is God.
First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday July 13, 2015.