I have been reminded lately about the importance of slowing down enough so as not to miss the moments that God has prepared for us. Ken Gire, in his book The Reflective Life, shared one such seemingly insignificant moment when his daughter shared through tears the despair she felt at school because she saw herself as the outcast. Unloved and unwanted. Ken and his wife walked through this with their sweet daughter. They helped her understand that she, of all people could learn things about Christ that she could never learn as the most popular kid in school. For He too was rejected by His friends-even His own family. He too was well acquainted with sorrow. They helped their daughter understand that what she was going through would help her know Christ more, appreciate Him more, and love Him more.
Admittedly, I read this and thought, "I don't know that I would have taken the opportunity to share such profound spiritual wisdom with my son as they did with their daughter." But what they did next, I was more apt to follow. They asked if she would like to take a day off from school and this offer, of course, was accepted. She then asked her dad, "What are you doing tomorrow?"
For a moment, he thought about the deadlines he had to meet, the projects he was behind on and all the very legitimate reasons why he truly did not have the time to take an unplanned day off. But, he knew he should, so he did. What followed was nothing spectacular. No deep conversation or revealing truths. Just a few errands, a trip to the mall and a movie. Yet, at the end of it all, his daughter says this: "You know, Dad, this is one of those memories I'll treasure for the rest of my life."
I, not unlike the author, stopped to reflect on all the similar opportunities I have missed in the past. The call of deadlines and projects to complete spoke louder than the simple voice of a gentle request. It makes me sad to consider the loss of similar moments I could have shared with those I love but missed in the hurried pace of life.
So, I am reminded today slow down and look for the moment. Simple moments like the smile to the flight attendant as I boarded the plane and I asked, "How are you today?" Or the moment to ask my friend from work how his family is doing or the call to my brother to say, "Hey, when you go hunting just let me know because I would like to hang out with you when you do. I'm not a deer hunter but I would sure love to be your spotter and just spend the day with you."
Maybe it was the extra time I take to play "Little Man" with my youngest and hear his out loud laugh that still rings in my ears. Or the extra time to stop my morning ritual to tell my oldest good morning, give him a hug and tell him how much I love him as the first thing he hears to begin his day.
Who know what these moments will turn in to and which ones God will predetermine to have life changing significance. Like the simple prayer for a co-worker while in the hospital, who later shared his hopeless life, who then found hope through trust and faith in Jesus Christ. A simple moment with eternal significance.
We are all surrounded by moments like this. Divine encounters God has placed in our life according to His love and mercy. Do we see them? Better question: Do we slow down and expect them enough to recognize them when they occur. Oh, they are there...every day. May we have a heart that is inclined to see where God is at work and the courage and humble gratitude to join Him in these moments. This is my prayer today.