It’s easy to get so caught up in the rat race that we forget why we ever started running, in the first place. This is how my life has been recently. A never-ending stream of appointments and lessons and practices and errands and just … stuff. Stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff, until I’m so mentally and physically exhausted that I feel I can’t handle even one more day. It’s the simplest things in life that make or break us. But those are the things that seem to get tossed aside as soon as we become trapped in this manic dance of schedules and activities and jobs and wants and dreams and desires.
Today, I went out to lunch with my daughter. It was an amazingly, amazingly beautiful day. All the leaves around here have turned, and the sunlight seems to have that special something it gets this time of year, so that it turns into a sort of transparent gold. It catches the edges of everything, no matter how mundane, and dresses it up so that it sparkles with a special kind of beauty. It was crisp and windy, with the leaves blustering across the road in flashes and swirls of color. And the sky … Oh my gosh, but the sky was so blue. I couldn’t look at it without squinting.
And so, I’m driving along … my mind on getting to lunch because I was hungry … but still noticing all the natural beauty around me. My daughter and I aren’t talking, but the radio is on. She is singing in the back seat. Just singing … her voice cutting through the quiet in the car, a little off-key but still beautiful in the way that only children’s voices can be. And I felt … something.
Something deep inside of me seemed to open up and start to glow. It was warm and unexpected and entirely wonderful — kind of like that feeling when you’re a kid, and you’re coming home after school on a cold day, and you open the door to the smell of freshly baked cookies, and you know your mom has been in the kitchen, baking and thinking of you. Just think about that for a moment. Feel it? Yeah. That’s it. That warmth of love and beauty and perfection just welling up inside of you.
In that moment, I realized what it means when people say each day is a gift. I know, I know … We’ve all heard this. We hear it all the time. We’ve heard it so many times that it’s become almost meaningless to us: an empty platitude people say when they can’t think of anything else. But today, in my car … on that street … with the blue sky open above me and my daughter singing in the back seat of my car … I KNEW what this meant. I felt it to the very depths of everything I am. I felt it so much that I wanted to cry from the weight and the happiness of it. I felt how perfect and delicate this moment was, and I wanted to cling to it, even as I knew this was impossible. And yet, I know I will carry this moment in my heart forever. When I am an old lady, I will sit in my chair and close my eyes. And I will smell the fresh bite of fall chill in the air. I will hear the leaves whisking across the road in front of my car. I will see the endless sky, so blue that I think it might swallow me whole. I will hear my daughter’s voice, hear her singing in the back seat of my car.
And I will know: I am blessed.