St. Luke wrote that Mary "treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). I want to be like Mary, but I struggle with understanding what it means to "treasure" and "ponder." There seems to be little time for such luxuries. Life spins itself out, the moments come and go, and suddenly 20 years have passed.
Last weekend we visited the first parish my husband ever served as a full-time church musician, from 1993 to 2000. When we first moved there we had a 10-month-old baby (he's 24 now). A few years later we had our second child (now 21). During the seven years we were there we made many friends with whom we keep in touch to this day. The last time we visited was in 2009, yet when we returned last week it felt in a way as if we had never left. So many of the same faces remained, theirs, like ours, a little more lined, with eyes reflecting years of trial, pain and joy. I found myself wanting to cherish the moments. Who knows when we will see these people again? Several dear friends are now well into their nineties. If we don't make it back for another eight years, will they still be around?
I don't know how to cherish the moments. I only know how to live them. Yes, there are special times, golden moments we find ourselves wanting to hang on to. But we can't. And that's okay. Every moment we have is given to us by God, sanctified by Him for a sacred purpose. Whether it's a baptism, a wedding, or a dirty diaper, it's still a gift of time, a moment to be lived. The baby days are wonderful, but so are the years of parenting teenagers and young adults. Courtship is magical and young married life full of anticipation, but there's also something equally profound about being able to look back as a couple from the 30-year mark. Sometimes I look around and wish I could freeze time. Life is precious, and I don't want it to be over. I don't want to get old and leave this earth while my loved ones are still here doing awesome things. I want to be around for all of it.
And yet I know there is a golden moment ahead, one that will outshine all the others. When that one comes there won't be anything distracting me. I won't have to try to cherish it. It will be the brightest, most golden moment I could ever imagine, and it will go on forever.
"Now if all my golden moments could be rolled into one
They would shine just like the sun for a summer day
And after it was over, we could have it back again
With credit to the editor for striking out the rain, very clean
And all it really needed was the proper point of view."
(James Taylor, "Golden Moments")