Yesterday I was pumping gas. Truth be told, I’d normally put the nozzle in and wander into the gas station to buy meat sticks and sparkling water, but this time it seemed a little sketchy in the holster, so I decided to do what your supposed to, and not leave my vehicle unattended. I stood there while the price slowly rolled penny by penny to my pre-paid $30.00. As was waiting, I had an urge to check my phone, write a list of to do’s or in some way be productive in my 3.5 minutes of gas pumping. When it was obvious that I couldn’t do anything but hold the gun in place for a few minutes, I sighed and looked up to the sky.
The horizon was a blanket of cobalt satin with big creamy cotton clouds hanging and swirling though the invisible breeze. The 2 pm sun was cascading beams of joyful amber as I stared at a big billow sailing over the tips of neighboring trees and disappearing behind the forest. When was the last time that you watched the clouds move? They are majestic and unapologetic. For a moment I was lost, quiet and transported away. I forgot my to-do list, and my endless need to be efficient. I completely forgot what I was doing until the pump lever banged, and I woke from my blissful daydream.
How many magical moments have I missed, because I was too busy trying to be productive?
I am not perfect, not by a long shot, but my need for perfection stems from my need for control. If I appear to be perfect, I appear to be in control, and I’ve fooled myself into believing I am in charge. If I am busy, I don’t have to be quiet. I don’t have to deal with me. It’s an illusion to think that if I am in control, I can prevent myself from being in pain. Life is madness, and every time I think I have things figured out, and every box checked off on my list, something changes and I have to realize just how powerless I really am. I’ve spent too much time trying to do it all, and missing out on all of it. With a grateful heart, I can appreciate God’s attempts to re-route me, even if it’s just in pumping gas and watching clouds.
In a world of multi-taskers, I want to be a minute-tasker. Living one dazzling moment at a time, enjoying it, reveling in the richness of time’s grace, and not feeling a need to be perfect, hurried or busy…but to just be there.
Doing many things at once does not make me more productive, it makes me more distracted. How can I see the sunset when I’m looking down at my phone? When I choose to do too many things at once, I am literally missing my life. I can’t connect, I can’t envelope all of my senses if I’m trapped by complications, or reeling with a mind that is sprinting. Don’t I believe that I am worthy of enjoying my time? Isn’t it fair that I deserve to relish each moment and savor my bite of the big juicy apple of my existence? More often than not, I have to remind myself, Yes!!! Take a big bite, and let the flavor roll around a little before gobbling it down.
God bless my Grandparents. We would go over to their house to see them, and my brother and I would ask, “what are we going to do today?” They would smile knowingly and say, “we’re going to visit.” Visiting meant laying on the burnt rusty shag carpet while the grown-ups chatted. I’d chime in little quips that pertained to me here and there, while this went on….for hours. There was no You-Tube, there was no movies watched or video games played, just good old-fashioned conversations and always Better Made potato chips and dip. I’m grateful for this time because I got to spend it getting to know them, not just being in the same room as them doing something else.
If I really want to learn who someone is, it’s not going to happen by osmosis. I have to be present. I can allow my senses take over until my heart is stenciled with the diagram of the way that person smelled, moved, spoke. I want to be able to hear their laugh and imagine what advice they would give me, years after they are gone. I’m learning. Everything in life is temporary, fleeting and changing to the beat of time. I want to live my life paying attention to the people I love, the clouds, the stars, the sweet breath of the air in my lungs, and the sun on my face. I can’t control anything other than myself, but I am not in this alone. If I am lucky, now and then, I might just be reminded to appreciate these lessons from the universe, and to wake up to the soul changing power of right now.