On Fleeting, Beautiful Messes
This morning, a wave of new grief struck me as I looked at my sleeping little boy and physically ached for my dad to know him.
This ache is not new to me, but I often busy myself so that my interior life is spared the sharp pain of remembering all of those beautiful moments of my childhood which now seem like a distant world that whisked by too quickly for me to capture.
I don’t like to slow down enough to allow myself to feel the pain of loss, because it hurts. It hurts me to think of memories that were so rich and priceless, because I was too mentally fleeting to enjoy their true value. They went too quickly.
The messiness of life makes me uncomfortable, and the chaos of my family and the unexpected stress of it all made me hyper focused on the next phase, the next day. Family picnics were filled with fighting over chocolate milk at the gas station, the cranky teenager that didn’t want to come, two siblings in an argument, or the forgotten plates. Family beach days were filled with whining and the stress of budget meetings. Family vacations were filled with long, exhausting car rides and cramped hotel rooms and we all just waited in anticipation for the next destination.
So often, the mess and the stress blocked me from the invaluable and short and altogether irreplaceable moments that now only exist in my old Facebook albums and the back of my memory.
God, my God, it is altogether too fleeting.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, you can’t see the forest through the trees? I’ve been thinking about the concept of: I missed the fleeting joys of life because I was too occupied with the dragging of the day.
Living in the present moment, really and truly abiding in the gift of who and what is right before your face, is something I wish I could have put into practice twenty years ago.
Dad, I miss the way you sought laughter in all things. I miss the way you lifted us all up with your smile and quick embrace and words of encouragement. I miss the way you taught us to live in a constant song of gratitude, and I want to do better. I want to replay the memories of you over and over again, because this ache that I feel pains me in a way that forces me to change the way I live. It forces me to grateful for my crying kid, my rowdy students, my messy husband, and my seemingly chaotic life.
I wish I had loved and revered every chaotic moment that I was privileged to live.
So, I challenge you to take a few minutes to mentally open the painful wounds that we like to keep tucked away. Allow the realness of those memories to spark within you a deeper commitment to living with a breath of thankfulness on your lips, and recommit yourself to embracing the mess of your life, because it is within that beautiful mess that the precious moments of your life will come and go.
As my dad liked to hum when he needed to remember that all he ever wanted was home with us, and that life was not waiting for him around the future corners: