Fran Braga Meininger
Collecting the Moments and Counting the Blessings
Settled between the soft sheets on a lovely evening, I open the small window next to my bed to let in the cool air. The wind is playing among the limbs of the bay laurel as the sun casts its shadow on my wall. It’s magical but fleeting. Soon the sun will fall below the horizon and the dancing shadow will disappear. I pause to notice this lovely performance every night, as I do many other natural happenings of my every day - the moment before day break when the world holds still, breathlessly suspended in the instant, before the first bird breaks the silence, or the silver light of the moon in the depth of the night when the moment is mine alone. These are the delights that make life worth living.
I’ve been taking count lately of how fortunate I am. Not for the trappings of a comfortable life in a beautiful place, nor for my accomplishments, or for my loving relationships and friendships, though those are indeed some of my many blessings. It’s more a gratitude for the connection I feel to the world around me. Even though I find life has become a series of rapidly changing circumstances, that at times has me off kilter.
I recently read the quote “If you focus on the pain, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow.” What does that mean? What is the deeper meaning beyond the platitude, the lesson for me?
So many come to mind, about choosing wisely, being realistic, leading with my heart, leading with my head, being open to possibilities, recognizing when time is right and knowing when it is not. But they all boil down to one irrefutable truth, nothing lasts forever.
My experiences, my loves, my life, they're all tentative and fleeting, as fleeting as that magical shadow on my wall. Everything comes to me to possess while I can, to live it, appreciate the experience or suffer through it and then suddenly it changes into something else, a deeper love, a better day, acceptance, endurance and resilience that carries me beyond and away, to another time, another being and other lessons.
I have a sense that is what I’m meant to understand, to take everything in, not allow the beauty, the freedom, the good fortune of this time to pass without notice. That’s it. That’s the deeper lesson. Notice, embrace, cherish and engage in it all, accept the gift knowing it is precious and mine only for a time. Endure the pain with the promise that I will heal with time. I am meant to live in the moment, love with all I have and revel in the light dancing on my wall.
I must take it all to heart, as I suspect it is what will sustain me when I may no longer be able to clearly see the beauty or hear the bird, or walk among the wild things. These moments, days, experiences are intended to be lived fully right now, and then tucked away, safe and close at hand to be retrieved at another time, at a time when they are needed to remind me of the life I’ve lived and how well I lived it.