You’ve heard it said that life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. And that’s true. This great big thing called life really boils down to moments remembered.
The photo collage that I put together here consists of single moments. A sunrise in New York. A hot afternoon in Texas. A sunset in Alabama. An August moon. They're all moments that took my breath away, and for different reasons.
Some of our breathtaking moments make memories of the richest kind. But there are also those moments that take our breath away, and not for good reasons. Tragedies. Foolish choices. Lost love. Betrayal. Heartbreak. But that's how life is. Trouble comes to all of us. Sometimes because of our own mistakes; other times through no fault of our own. If you're like me, you wish you had an “off” button whenever such a memory pops up. Better yet, an “erase” button that would wipe it out for good. Instead, you learn to cope.
Then, there are those moments that are breathtakingly sweet, yet colored with a certain shade of sadness. Moments that produce what I call bittersweet memories.
One such memory occurred in the early spring of 1986. I was in a hospital bed, still recovering from a major surgery. My sister, Elaine, had come by to see me and had brought along her precious daughter, Shelaine, who was not quite two (and who turned 26 recently). We lived down the street from each other at that time, and I often kept Shelaine while her mom and dad took care of church business, or were out of town. She and I were a tight pair and I couldn’t have loved her more if she had been my own child.
On this particular day, I was not in a good state, emotionally. The surgery I had just undergone was a hysterectomy. Knowing how my life was permanently changed, and knowing I could do nothing about it, despair threatened to overwhelm me. It had not been a good day at all.
But upon seeing my precious niece, my spirits lifted considerably. I’ll never forget the scene. Shelaine was wearing a blue and yellow crocheted dress, her blonde hair all in curls. She had just had her picture taken, and “adorable” doesn’t begin to describe how she looked that day.
I asked Elaine if she would put Shelaine in the bed with me, so I could get a hug from her before they left. She did, and as Shelaine scooted over to get closer, I began to cry. Not out loud, but tears trickled down my face and onto the hospital gown I was wearing. My tears were for lots of reasons; some I didn’t fully understand. I hadn’t meant to cry; it just happened.
When Shelaine saw my tears, she reached up, patted my face with her little hands, and in the purest voice, said, “Is alright, Aunt Dayle. Is alright.”
I loved her way with words and I’m not sure I’ve ever received any sweeter comfort in my life. It was one of those moments that takes your breath away. Even today, when things aren’t going so well, I think of my sweet niece’s reassuring words that day, and I am, again, comforted by the memory of that one moment in time.
What is a moment that took your breath away? I hope you'll take the time to record such moments in a journal somewhere... or a blog, perhaps, as I just did … and maybe share it with fellow-bloggers, as I am doing now.
Until next time, faithful friends, when all is said and done, moments are all we have. Make them count.