As something of a storyteller, I love to throw myself into anything that has an interesting tale to it: a good book or series of books, TV series, movie or series of movies, even music or an anecdote told around the lunch table. Offer me a good story and I am there, sometimes with an overzealous interest or somewhat intimidating (I’m told), quietly intense focus. From there, as mentioned in a previous post, I usually want to know everything.
Interestingly enough, though, it is often a single moment that stays with me. It might be an emotional moment, or something quirky or powerful that caught my attention. Often, it is that “ah-ha” moment when something suddenly makes perfect sense, or a new fact is revealed that makes so many other hints and pieces fall into place.
Here are a few examples of recent favorite moments:
- The CWs Arrow. Arrow is one of my big “loves” right now, so I could probably come up with at least a dozen favorite moments, but there is one that almost always comes first to mind. In the episode “Crucible” (Season 2 Episode 4) Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle are in the Arrow Cave, and Oliver is being a little bit taken to task for keeping yet another secret. His constant control breaks for a moment, and all the pain and struggle he feels rise to the surface for a brief, glorious moment of humanity as he exclaims “These were five years…five years… where nothing good happened!” I’ve watched this episode at least 4 times, and that moment still gets me. Felicity’s little “Do you have any happy stories?” in that scene is also a perfect moment.
- No list of mine could possibly be complete without at least one Lord of the Rings or Hobbit reference. For the purposes of these moments, the one that comes readily to mind takes place after Gandalf falls to the Balrog in the deep of Moria. While staying in Lothlorien, the fellowship hears the elves singing laments for Gandalf. “But if Legolas was with the Company, he would not interpret the songs for them, saying that he had not the skill, and that for him the grief was still too near, a matter for tears and not yet for song.” (JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring). This is one of my favorite moments of the books, and I love the interpretation it was given in the movie.
- On a recent drive to visit family, I was listening to John William’s music from the Star Wars movies (episodes IV-VI). It had been a long time since I’d just listened to the music, and I’d almost forgotten just how amazing that soundtrack is. At various times I found myself laughing from the pure joy the music gave or having to shake off a bout of the chills at a particularly moving theme.
As I’ve been pondering my love of moments recently, I’ve come to realize that it isn’t just movie/music/novel moments that move me. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. Our lives are made up of an endless succession of moments. And I’m coming to realize that it is the little moments that are most important. We can plan a long vacation, or an extra special outing and these events will always be important to us. But details will fade over time, until what remains are the memories of moments, rather than the whole event.
The family vacations of my childhood have blurred together until what I remember is just bits and pieces. The bunk beds of our camper. Playing board games as a family. Dad’s perfect marsh-mellow toasting technique (which my brother has inherited, thank goodness!).
Countless long drives, which boil down to three things: 1) falling asleep on the back bench seat of the van that folded down into a bed and getting gum stuck in my hair. 2) having my own little bag of things to do on the drive, none of which included batteries or the need for a charger. 3) pretending the van was the space shuttle, and my brother and I were the astronauts flying off on some grand adventure.
A trip to Kentucky/Tennessee became the reluctant admission that Opryland was not as boring as we thought it would be when Mom and Dad said we were going there. Experiencing The Stephen Foster Story musical at an outdoor theater was, at the time, hands down the most wonderful, amazing thing I’d ever seen. I can still remember, albeit somewhat distantly, the awe and wonder I felt at the end of that show.
My sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner (I was 11) was the Pastor’s warning about the heat and what to do if anyone felt faint. On her wedding day, all of us girls sitting on the floor of the dressing room in the dresses my mom made for us, with the skirts flounced around us so that we all looked like flowers and sweating so much throughout the day that the navy blue of our dresses bled through onto our rented petticoats.
More recently, there are moments such as watching a movie with my five-year-old niece. She snuggled up against my arm, with one hand resting on the fur of the world’s softest kitty (my little Luna) who snuggled up on me too. The excitement of my little nephew when he sees me coming, and the sweetness of a little boy voice praying before breakfast or saying “Aunt Becca.” Going on a brisk not-quite-spring walk with my sister and getting my feet completely muddy and drenched despite valiant efforts to avoid ridiculously deep puddles. Sitting quietly in a room with 3 others, all of us reading separately but sharing a wonderful, peaceful moment. Running around mid-party because I put the treasure hunt clues in the wrong places.
I’m starting to realize that it is all these little moments, woven together as the threads of a tapestry, that make a life. I am also learning that the moments can happen anywhere and under any circumstances. It doesn’t take an elaborate plan or extraordinary event to build a moment worth treasuring. All it takes is a conscious effort to be present and aware. Not all of the moments will be happy or wonderful, but I can make an effort to retain the positive and good moments and let the others slip away.