“Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours…these small hours still remain…”-Rob Thomas, “Little Wonders”-
I read somewhere long ago that a tombstone is but a brief record of the beginning and end of a person’s life, but that the most important punctuation is the dash, the mark in the middle of those two dates that signifies how they spent their life.
Friday (9/11) was the 19 year anniversary of the day when thousands of innocent people woke up to begin their last moments of their own dash. It also made two weeks since the unexpected loss of one of my family members. I mention both of these in order to confess that it has brought into sharp focus this truth: our lives are made up of small hours, whose accumulation is weighed in that dash.
I’ve always been drawn to the song, “Seasons of Love,” from the musical RENT, in all of its raw emotion, and the refrain “How do you measure a year in the life?” is the question I’d like to answer.
I know that we all end a year looking back at the highlight reel, the peaks of the rollercoaster of our days, and try not to stare too much at the dim shadows of the other sudden dips in our life’s course that we endure. I’ve run out of fingers on both hands counting up the big things that have caused the coaster to plummet, but what I’m doing my best to focus on are the sharp rises in that ride.
If 2020 has taught me anything (and, to be honest, the end of 2019, too), it’s that sometimes you can have more valleys than hills, but it’s how you cope with those that makes all the difference.
I have been looking towards those “small hours” with my loved ones as moments worthy of cherishing. Here are just a few that have stood out so far…
*Watching my newborn son being held by my husband and daughter for the first time.
*Hearing my grandmother saying she loved me after almost losing her in the ICU.
*Being taken for the best birthday mini-trip I’ve ever had with my husband, to see one of my favorite musicals, and a special overnight hotel stay that made me feel like a queen.
*Finally breathing easier because my new boss was more understanding than any I’ve had before, and a much-needed breath of fresh air for our campus staff and student body.
*Climbing Enchanted Rock with my dad and daughter, and spending quality time helping grow their bond.
*Becoming a pen pal to my students after being forced to abruptly end regular school and adopt the virtual technology sphere we had to exist in.
*Watching my daughter learn to ride her bike for the first time and seeing the gleam of pride in herself.
*Helping my Dad make a major transition in his life and gaining more time with him so he could see his grandkids.
*Fulfilling one of my dreams and starting a blog.
I share all of this to emphasize the value of the small hours that make up each of our dashes.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the quagmire of busy nothings and forget to take time to reflect on our blessings. It’s time to start doing that, even though 2020 has dished out some hits and they seem to keep on coming, because when we do, it’s easier to realize that even the most mundane moments have merit. So, before we reach that finish line, let’s not forget to mark the milestones and minutiae along that way.
I want to be known as a woman who had a life well lived, and I will fill the pages of my story with love.