Even in the Hardest Times
For most of us, these are unprecedented times. This is something we never could have imagined.
And of all the familiar words that come to mind right now — the scriptures, the comforts of family and friends, the well-known adages that we tend to repeat in times of pain and crisis — one line, like the wind, has every intention of knocking me over today, demanding I acknowledge it.
It’s a quote from Cesare Pavese, an Italian poet from the last century. The beginning is both beloved and fairly well-known: “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
There’s so much truth to this sentiment. Right?
This is why we take the trips even when our children are young. This is why we fight not to let a terrible morning destroy our plans. This is why we capture mental pictures.
Thankfully, days come and go. If they were meant to last, they’d be incredibly daunting. To create a perfect day is almost impossible. There are so many minutes…so many things to go wrong. But fortunately, the next minute always gives us a chance to make a change. That’s why we work with little moments, instead of with the day as a whole.
It’s the moments that are powerful.
Moments are made of little particles of great impact. They’re little sparks that have the potential to light big flames. They’re designed and orchestrated entirely by feelings — feelings of love, passion, embarrassment, heartache, anger. And since not much in life matters more than feelings, the same is true of the moments they create.
And I think that’s why I’m dwelling on this sentence today.
We’ve been given the unusual chance to ignite all kinds of flames in the days to come. We’ll be spending these days differently for a while, and they’re bound to become mundane. And eventually, if we’re the lucky ones, these days will fade back into the fabric of our hard-to-recall histories.
But we can do so much more with the moments.
And that’s a wonderful thing, because there’s nothing daunting about that. Nothing needs to be perfect. It’s okay if almost nothing goes right. There doesn’t have to be a minute-by-minute plan.
Instead, we have an opportunity to look for the best of the moments.
We can try to create just a few moments each day that have the chance to become beautiful memories.
Let’s search for something that makes us giggle. Something that can grow into such a belly laugh that we can’t stop it…and maybe we can’t even remember what started it in the first place. Instead, we’ll just remember laughing together. We’ll remember being happy.
Let’s play. Let’s dress up, find a stage, sing show tunes, become book characters, compete in board games. We’ll remember being silly.
Let’s not forget our creativity. We should paint the rocks in our yards, or draw a pastel masterpiece on canvas. Let’s write the first page of a novel, or imagine winning a poetry award or a Nobel Prize. Let’s build the grandest castle or dream of the cure to everything that ails us. We’ll remember that once, we were brilliant.
Let’s eat cookie dough. And watch movies on blankets, and search for the stars at night, and wake up early to catch those stunning pinks and golds only God can paint. We’ll remember that we were enchanted.
There will be moments of failure, but they’ll be followed by moments of grace. And then maybe by moments of peculiarity, or hilarity, or beauty. Moments of comfort, of love, of joy. Moments of magic.
Now, back to Pavese. It’s the second part of the quote that most people don’t know. “The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.”
That’s spectacular, isn’t it?
Because, yes, we’re going to forget much about these days. But because we’re fighting for the moments, we’ll always be assured that this life is beautiful, indeed. Even in the hardest of times.