Singular Moments

It's easier to clean my house than write words these days. Easier to work in the garden, move the sprinkler, fill the bird feeders, hunt for strawberries ahead of the birds. The birds are destroyers in the garden but I love them at the feeders—beauty within their bounds and a terror, without, like all good things.

Reading a book is easier lately, or scrolling Instagram. I can rearrange furniture and dust the vents and repot my dying house plants better than I can put whole hopeful thoughts together, and a clean house is proof: I can get stuff done.

Words are not this way. They are a mocking sentiment, refusing to be checked off lists, and I really can't coax them out in orderly fashion. They trickle, singularly, or topple all together in a hodge-podge of stifled thoughts.

These are excuses, my husband says, and so is my lament that I can't start something that could be interrupted at any given moment. I need short-term projects or long-term silence, but I have excuses instead and his way of encouraging me is a much needed call to my bluff. I love him for telling it like it is.

Things are disappointing lately and such is life. There are too many maybes where I'd just prefer a no; too many somedays when never would be easier. Maybe and someday stretch anxiety across time and make moments heavy, weighted.

That's what I think from this side of things, but let's face it: no and never are hopeless. I should be thankful for maybes and somedays.

Holding on to hope is a painful blessing.

But things are beautiful lately, right alongside our disappointment. It rained for several days and at the top of the mountain it was snowing, just slightly. The only reason this weather is beautiful in June is because I loved the rain and gray days in February. I loved them in their appropriate place and time so why not love them in June, after a run of sunny days? Why not call that beautiful?

Beauty looks different all the time and we won't see it for what it is if we do not welcome the days, just as they are. A gray day is for me, today, a blessing. Tomorrow I'll have to put on new perspective. Everyday will give us opportunity to see if something is truly ugly or beautiful—can I take this moment and its imperfection and see it singularly? See it in only this space and time and not as an inconvenience to the next moment's agenda?

That's the most important lesson of these days: singular moments.

*****

My peonies bloomed in the rain and gale force winds and I hurried to bring them in, to enjoy them against a gray day.

The puppy exploded a blue marker on my white shag rug and I have yet to finish cleaning it up. Other things were important.

Life is bursting with benign moments. If everything is important then nothing really is; if everything is beautiful then nothing really is.

Enter: ugliness, our helper.

*****

Parenting, for instance, is hard and people do funny things (but they do bad things and the worst thing is that anyone has the power to hurt our children), but people are warm, are feeling, are changing; our kids are people. We keep learning how to talk to them, how to walk with them, how to hurt with one at the same moment we rejoice with another, and how to remind all of ourselves that these training grounds are leading to an eternal weight of glory. Every roll of this tide brings something that changes us.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. {2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV}

We have to see the ugly for what it is—a contrast. When big things are hideous, we look for the smallest things, pay attention to the quietest things, give thanks for the most mundane things all predictable and same and unnoticed, too numerous to count. May all the disappointments of life funnel us down to those most important things, those singular moments.

Today the sun is out and a gray day seems far behind, and I'll just take exactly what this moment offers.