written by Deborah Lowrey
Driving home one day I saw three young boys standing on a driveway. I noticed the boy in the middle was crying, wiping tears from his eyes; his head hung down slightly. The boy to his left put his arm around him and he being taller, leaned down and whispered into the crying boy's ear. The crying boy shook his head yes, lowered his head a little more and turned his head slightly left pressing into the taller boy's chest. As I drove past I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the taller boy take the crying boy's hand and led him away with the third boy following behind.
I was touched and smiled. I had been witness to a moment. A moment is an event in time in which we are witness to an act of kindness, connection and love. This is a private, open, touching and tender moment between people, nature, another, themselves, or with life. These moments can be with us as a participating party or as a witness. Moments happen at any time, every day.
Sometimes moments can be in the little things. I was at a park one day. I saw two elderly people holding hands. I heard a person say 'they're so old they don't have anyone else'. Ah, but I saw the moment. The way they looked at each other, their body language, their Chi showed clearly that they were in love, not old age.
Sometimes moments happen in times of adversity. I was waiting for my neurologist appointment at the hospital. I had for over three months been experiencing severe vertigo, excruciating headaches, perpetual fevers that never go away, confusion, disorientation, and difficulty in walking, talking and thinking (much like the effects of being intoxicated with alcohol).
I had been sitting there in the chair for a few minutes (trying desperately not to fall out of the chair) and a woman walks up to me with a smile and asks if the seat next to me is taken or if she could sit down. I invite her to sit down. Thirty seconds of silence.
Then she turns her whole body a quarter of the way towards me and asks if I've been waiting long. I tell her about twenty minutes. She states that she has been waiting for more than an hour and that her appointment was at ten. It's now nearly quarter after eleven. I ask who her doctor is and realize that the neurologist she is to see is mine as well. I tell her that I'm supposedly his last patient of the day so hopefully we will be seen soon.
She starts telling me about the sudden onset of seizures she has been experiencing. She's been to some of the best hospitals and doctors and no one seems to know what's going on. She said that she was somewhat used to it. It took them over seven years to diagnose her terminal disease of the bladder. Then she said she was so glad that at least it wasn't cancer. She said that four months later the doctors were a little speedier in diagnosing her second terminal disease.
My heart sank. She seemed to have worked through the anger and denial parts, but I could not help but love her. She knew that she was going to die and somewhat knew the timeframe left for her life. But now it seemed the seizures were a problem because it may mean that what time she and her husband had thought they had together may be shortened. She seemed to want to know how much longer she had, but the doctors couldn't give that and didn't know why she was having the seizures.
Her husband approached her briefly and asked if she'd heard how much longer before she could see the doctor. She didn't know. You should have seen his face. This man loves this woman. Written on his face were worry, love, wanting answers... 'will the time we have left together be robbed from us?' In a brief moment he said more than could ever be expressed in words. He softly touched her left arm and said he was going to the front desk to check on how much longer.
She then asked why I was there to see the doctor. I told her. The care, compassion and love that she had on her face, her words of true concern were enough to touch me so much that I held back tears. She said that she was worried about me and truly wished that the doctors could find out what was going on so that I could be better and regain my health. This woman was more concerned about me in spite of all that she faced.
Yes, there are moments that come from 'bad' times. This is when things seem difficult for yourself or another and your heart reaches out. This is a moment that you extend beyond yourself to love another in whatever way possible.
Sometimes moments happen with understanding and compassion. Bobby S. His mother didn't want him. His father didn't want him, and not sure if his father was ever really in the picture. His grandmother played a charade most of his life, acting as if she were his 'real' mother. He never found out until he was about 18 years old. His grandmother 'mother', she did not know love. Men were bad. So she terrorized, threatened, and abused Bobby continually. All he wanted was to be loved. He was to be constantly and repeatedly denied.
My heart ached for Bobby. I understood his plight. I felt his pain. If he were even one second late for the time he was to be back home, she would lock him out for the night. I can't count how many times I heard him crying and pleading with her to let him in. Desperately asking her to just please let him in. He cried from within his heart. And many times you could hear her from inside the house yelling back at him. She was going to teach him a lesson. He was good for nothing. Just shut up and be a man.
He was only a child. He was pleading for her to accept and love him. She never heard his hunger for love.
I don't think he graduated from high school. I remember he wanted my help to study and get some books so that he could learn about basic math so he could pass a test, what I believe was his GED.
Shortly after that, he was trying to take a test so that he could be in the Army. He said that he didn't have anything else that he could do. He said he had no skills and this I felt from him was all he could possibly hope for. He believed in all the lies that he was good for nothing and stupid. I saw beyond those lies. I saw how his moments crying and pleading on the porch had been unheard from his 'mother', but I heard them and did all I could to help. I don't know if he'd gotten into the Army. I've never heard from him since. I'm glad I was given the opportunity to help in any way I could, even if for only a moment.
Sometimes moments happen when and where we least expect them. In college I met Marla. She was an English Writing Professor. We had many writing assignments and she let us determine what subjects we would write about. She gave us the option of writing on the top of the paper that it was 'confidential' so that it would not be shared when we read the stories in the next class. Nearly all of us shared many personal and confidential stories with Marla.
At the end of the semester we came to our last class. Marla said she wanted to share her feelings with the class because we had impacted and effected her greatly. What she shared, none of us were prepared for. Marla shared her true appreciation of the things and the level of personal sharing we had done with our confidential writings. She said she had felt our feelings and felt that she had been allowed to enter into our hearts. She felt that she too needed to share her heart-filled and intimate thoughts and feelings within herself.
I remember she started with something like 'I've lived a very full life'. She told us how two years before she had been diagnosed with Leukemia. She told us how it had changed her life, but never extinguished her personal fire. She then told us a year after that, to the day, that she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She told of her anguish, the physical pain and how that pain grew emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
She explained the medical implications of both diseases. One day of food, the next fasting. This drug for this disease caused problems with the other disease, so the next day was a different drug. She told of the medical treatments for both diseases were a back and forth, a feast then famine. She shared her struggles with denial, then anger, then acceptance. She shared with us the most intimate things, her heart and life.
She then said 'don't feel sorry for me, please don't cry. I'm ok with this. We each have a candle that represents our life. I burned mine at both ends at a furious rate. I really lived life. I have done so much more than many could ever dream of.' She shared many stories of her life such as riding the rails, this feat and that, this happened, I met this person, I did more than dream, I accomplished my dreams and made them a reality...
In the beginning of the semester she had given us each a dictionary. Mine now is ragged and torn, but I can't seem to give it up. I know it is only an object, but when Marla gave it to us she had said that her wish was for us to learn English, to learn to share and communicate well. We would then be able to share who we are and what is in our heart. Sitting in this last class, trying to let sink in all that Marla had shared, she was giving us the opportunity to share in the moment. To touch and to be connected; to love one another. She gave us a very valuable tool, sharing and opening our heart is the most precious communication.
I learned more than English in Marla's class. I learned about love and connection. I learned about not letting the moment slip by; That sometimes a moment is all that we have.
How often do we really see these moments? How many opportunities to Love have we forfeited? How many moments have you let slip by you unnoticed? Part of growing spiritually is seeing through our tinted (tainted) glasses and seeing truth. And acting on those truths. See the moments surrounding you and within your life. See the moments that you create in your life. You have an unbelievable power within you... You create your moments. Embrace them, see them, and live them... Because sometimes a moment is all that we have.