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The Fragile Gift

When does meaning come into a moment? Is meaning measured by the content of our words, or the level of our presence? It’s so easy to see a friend on the street and pass by with an empty greeting, our minds and hearts never really catching up to our words.

As humans, we make a habit of focusing on the stupidest things. It isn’t just that we see them and notice them, it’s that we allow meaningless details to consume our thoughts and our energies. Isn’t it strange that we place so much emphasis on what we don’t want and forget to celebrate the moments we wish would last forever?

We spend our energy on worry and worse case scenarios instead of sharing it with the people who surround us. We take for granted what we have and only stop to notice when it is no longer there.

If you’re having a great day and you trip and spill hot coffee all over your shirt, your great day is over. You won’t remember to savour the amazingly fragrant peonies that had just burst into bloom in your front yard, you won’t think about the lovely talk you had with your sister or the awesome deal you got on your new favourite pair of pants.

You will remember the coffee. You will relive it and retell it. If the rest of your day gets a mention, it will only be to draw a background and add dramatic flair to the coffee disaster.

I’m not saying that spilling coffee on yourself doesn’t suck. I’m just saying that it doesn’t have to define your day. You could choose to tell a different story, choose to direct your emphasis elsewhere.

What if instead of giving power to the worst thing that happened in a day, you gave your energy to remembering and reliving the greatest moments? What if instead of thinking about that asshole who cut you off in the turning lane, you think about a friend that you can’t wait to see again?

We all have those friends, the ones who are lovely, warm and light you up from the inside. The friend you might only see a few times a year, but when you do, you’re so much better off for those moments.

This weekend, one of those lovely, warm, wonderful people in my life was suddenly extinguished. She was not someone I saw regularly, but she was someone who always brought a smile to my face. Sid was a passionate educator and just a joy to be around. I am sad that I will not see her again. Sad that I didn’t spend more time with her while I had the chance.

Emoting is not something I am particularly good at, and I feel almost silly for being so sad. There are plenty of people who knew her better, who will miss her more and who will feel her absence in their day to day.

I didn’t know I would miss her until she was gone.

She touched my life, and even through the loss, I feel that as an awesome thing. Thinking of her reminds me of the importance of connection. The importance of taking time to appreciate the moments in my life as they are happening now.

Life is a fragile gift. It comes with no guarantees, warranties or refunds. Instead it comes with infinite possibilities. Everyday we get to choose which seeds in our lives we will water, where we will spend our love, how we will grow our connections.

It’s easy to get caught up in the flow of life and forget that we get to choose. It’s easy to focus on the spilled coffee instead of changing our shirt, making another cup and still having a great day.

I won't run into Sid again, there won’t be a time to catch up and reconnect. But I do get to choose to remember her and let those memories remind me of where I want to put my energies today. The gift of a reminder to cherish the moments and people in my life is what she leaves me. A reminder to be the one who will plant a smile where I can and help it grow.

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