Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Some Moments are Meant to be Captured With Your Heart

It's summer, a time when most of us would like to slow down, relax and make some memories. That is not always easy to do. For most of us, life is busy and distracting...

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life?
For you are a mist that appears for a little time
and then vanishes.
James 4:18 ESV

Some moments are meant to be captured by a camera...and some are meant to be captured and forever imprinted on our hearts. We have all been aware of those moments. The times when, if we are still enough, we can feel God urging us to be present, to let the event etch itself onto our hearts, not on our phones. 

One of the most compelling moments I have ever experienced was the last Christmas we spent at my mom's before she died. I was in the kitchen and happened to stop, catching sight of my 6 foot tall almost 300-pound son sitting on the floor in front of the television. His legs all "criss-cross apple sauce" eating straight out of the Nilla Wafer box...just like he did when he was little and we were at Nanny's house. I froze in that moment because I knew, I knew it would be the last time. 

Everything in me wanted to grab my phone and take a picture, to freeze time and that moment, but I could hear God telling me it was more important to just be present and capture it with my heart and my soul, rather than with my camera. 

If you are still enough, quiet enough, God will carefully direct you toward the exact set of memories that your heart needs to keep beating. 

Slowing down, putting down our phones and our cameras, easing up on our schedules, and letting go of what we think our lives should be filled with is not easy. We are conditioned by the world around us to document externally.

It's not wrong until it is. 

When that desire to "post" our lives takes over to the point that we can no longer hear or feel the God who gave us the gift of internal documentation. He gave us our memory and our memories. Carefully orchestrated moments to carry and comfort, to mold and shape us into who we are meant to be. 

I sat in a waiting room recently, with three of my four girls. Because the room was small, the three of them sat together in a row and I sat across from them. I sat there staring at these three. My oldest, all grown up, married and recently graduated from college. She was in town visiting us while she had a break before she begins her master's program. Beside her, our two youngest daughters, they were there that day for braces and are full excitement; middle school in the fall, band instruments, cell phones and social media, they can't wait. 

I can wait. 

Incredibly, we all sat there without devices; no iPads, no phones, no iPods.

We sat there and talked and because our hands were empty and free, somehow they gravitated toward doing things with them...which inevitably evolved into laughter. As we sat there and I tried desperately to duplicate their complicated gestures and finger placements, I also noticed something else...

We were the only ones making any noise.

We were loud.

Most people, children included, were plugged in and absorbed into their devices, and that is an almost silent endeavor. We were fully engaged...with each other, and that my friends, was not a quiet thing. 

There were three boys, who passed through that waiting room, who walked through our moment. They came through at different points, they didn't belong together but were similar in age and appearance and each one was carrying an iPad. They had been plugged in and silent, never noticed until they literally walked through our good time. I can't help but feel they were significant somehow. 

Instinctively, almost without hesitation, I wanted to judge the fact that they were so immersed in technology, but something was nagging at me. Was it my own penchant for connectivity? Was it a notification on my Apple watch?

No, that wasn't it.

Oh yes, I know now...

it was my own son. 

He is so often like those boys, plugged in, ensconced in technology, blocking out the world around him. He frequently passes through these moments of life, almost unnoticed by a world that seems unable, too far immersed in a growing compulsion to externally document every moment, to notice his existence. He can't be captured and posted on Facebook or Instagram...an image frozen in time on a camera can never convey the true gift that is my son.

We have moments, and sometimes they are so incredibly perfect that to capture them any other way than with your being, would simply be a disservice, inadequate...and just wrong.

I felt it again.

I knew in my heart, sitting there in that waiting room, this was one of those moments. I fought the urge to grab my phone, and I just enjoyed being there with my girls.

My prayer for you today:

God, only You know what tomorrow will bring, and You know that all too often that is all we are focused on, so much so that we miss what is right in front of us, today. Father our time here is short, help us to stay centered on You and focused on today and what is right in front of us. Open our eyes and prepare our hearts to hold the memories you have before us. Amen.


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