Loving the momentWhat’s the most beautiful thing that you’ve ever seen in your life? For me, it happened one day when I was living in California and had just driven home from work, parked the car, rounded a corner by the garage and saw, ahead of me, my 3-year old son riding his tricycle on the sidewalk in the opposite direction.
What’s the most beautiful thing that you’ve ever seen in your life? For me, it happened one day when I was living in California and had just driven home from work, parked the car, rounded a corner by the garage and saw, ahead of me, my 3-year old son riding his tricycle on the sidewalk in the opposite direction.
He then stopped, looked back and smiled and I thought my heart would split in half. Not because I wasn’t happy but because I was too happy and wanted to hang onto that moment forever, to stop time in its tracks, all the while knowing that I couldn’t do so anymore than a fisherman could hang onto a wildly flopping northern pike forever.
Still, in some ways I did successfully hang onto it, having imbedded it in my mind to occasionally enjoy, over and over for the past 20-plus years and many more moments like it, watching him grow from munchkin to manhood and into someone no father could ever be more proud of.
Which is really the point of this life isn’t it? Choosing to enjoy the moments, savoring them over and over and looking forward to many more to come?
Or as Albert Einstein, the famous physicist said, “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
And as Sister Corita Kent, the artist and educator said, “Love the moment and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”
Which is a little like saying, if you love one moment, you’ll love them all and that it’ll spread to others and others will learn to love them too.
That’s a really nice thought when you think about it, as though loving one moment could be as contagious as the common cold, spreading from one “moment lover” to another and yet another until everyone is loving every moment, which sounds a little like Woodstock and the 60s’, except that I think their love thing was more about drugs and getting out of work.
At any rate, over the years my son has given me more of those special moments than a bank has coins, sidewalks have cracks, lumberyards have sawdust, desserts have calories and cheating wives have cheating husbands. But there are also many of those moments that we each receive every day, like gifts wrapped from Heaven, that we choose to ignore.
My son has a sizeable number of interesting memories just from his bedtime stories alone, stored in his mind and nowhere else that I used to create on the spot, unedited, and spew out each night by his bedside as he rolled in laughter and then started hiccupping. Of course, this accomplished little of what it was meant to do (put him to sleep) but probably did a whole lot to cement a relationship between father and son.
Because moments become memories and memories become the glue that holds life together, including relationships between husband and wife, parent and child, teacher and student, coach and athlete, boss and worker, nation and leaders, and from generation to generation.
On the television series, “The Wonder Years,” someone said: “Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are and the things you never want to lose.”
But how does the human brain store memory? The real answer is scientists don’t know. There appears to be two kinds of memory: short-term and long-term memory and in general, scientists say that memory is stored in networks of neurons. Neurons then communicate through electrical changes and short-term memory seems to be stored as electrical patterns, which have a limited lifetime.
No matter how they are stored, the important thing is that you try to create good memories because good memories benefit everyone.
Or as James M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan said, “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”
Holten is a freelance writer and cartoonist from Dickinson.