For the vast majority of twentysomethings (and 30-, 40- and even 50-somethings for that matter), life is run at near breakneck speeds. Classes. Meetings. Work. Luncheons. Conferences. After school events. Work outs. Dinners. Shows. Concerts. Events. Sports. Projects. Achievements. We go and we do, and in the midst, this thing called “life” passes us by.
But every so often, we are granted a silver sliver in time: a moment of reprieve when everything that once seemed in control is taken away, and we are forced to slow down. It’s almost as if a large red rose is thrust into our hand and we have no choice but to take one long intoxicating whiff.
My mother and I were granted one of those silver slivers not too long ago. We were attending a wedding celebration on one of the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington. After participating in the joyous occasion, we dutifully parked our car in the holding area to catch the next ferry. We realized we had an extra five or ten minutes to spare, and decided to head down to the nearby cabins for one final farewell to our family members. After all, it was the first time in more than thirty-five years that my mom and her two sisters had been together. It just made sense to capture every last moment.
My mother, my aunt Susan, my aunt Ruthie, her husband and daughter, and I sat on the dock chatting. The early morning breeze was cool, but the sun somehow kept us comfortable. The conversation was seasoned with laughter and warm memories. The five minutes grew into fifteen which eventually grew into nearly an hour. The ferry was desperately late, but it seemed of little concern. Every so often, I looked at my watch and strained my neck to peek around the corner of the bay to see if the boat was on its way. There was no sign of it, and secretly I was grateful.
It was one of those little silver slivers in time. I could sense it then, but I know it now.
Though they were experienced just five short days ago, those precious moments seem so far away now. This morning I received the telephone call: Charles was killed in a car accident last night. Heartache beyond words and grief beyond expression cut to the core of all our beings. There are still many tears to be shed and much mourning to be done. But even in the midst, I cannot help but be grateful to God for the silver sliver, those precious moments we were granted together before Charles was taken away.
Silver slivers aren’t just given when tragedy befalls, but rather tragedy helps us recognize their value and worth. These little moments are awarded every day, and they take many forms. Tragedy merely helps us to embrace them rather than pass them by.
Some silver slivers are inconvenient. An unwanted traffic jam that gives you a few moments to catch up with someone on the cell phone. The two hour flight delay that makes you spend more time together in the airport, whether you like it or not. The guest who always arrives late for dinner causing you to spend more time talking with those who are already there. A disagreement with a friend or loved one that opens the opportunity to apologize and seek forgiveness.
Other silver slivers are granted as kisses from God to remind you that you’re alive and He’s with you. The early morning minutes before the sun ascends over the horizon and the world is still quiet. Breathtaking mountain ranges. Rich, blue ocean waves. Color-me-wild sunsets. Telephone calls and cards from old friends. Having your hand held. Being loved simply for who you are.
So in the midst of it all… Classes. Meetings. Work. Luncheons. Conferences. After school events. Work outs. Dinners. Shows. Concerts. Events. Sports. Projects. Achievements…. Remember that silver slivers are available every day. The challenge is to carve out time for them and not wait for tragedy or heartache to open our eyes and heart to them.
So the next time you find yourself caught in traffic, delayed or running behind schedule (and you will), look for the goodness that hovers in the midst. And when you walk by a flower shop, nestle your nose in the petals and enjoy an intoxicating whiff of this precious thing called life.
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