“I should have noticed. I should have stopped and paused.” ~Brene Brown
This week I have been flooded with reminders to stop and pause. I’ve been deliberately taking the time to recognize the small smiles through out my day. It’s been almost a year since Christian and I lost his father and my aunt to cancer. We are in the middle of the holiday season, and I miss them both. Why didn’t I pick up the phone last Thanksgiving to talk to my aunt. Why don’t I remember the same details as Christian from the Thanksgiving dinner that we shared with his parents. Why was I so busy?
As I pulled out the boxes of Christmas ornaments last Friday, I found a bag. It is a small white shopping bag that has been shuffled from one room to another finally making its way to the closet that is the home to our holiday decorations. In the bag is a box. The box is wrapped in Christmas paper. Inside the box is an ornament. I purchased this ornament for my aunt a few months after she was diagnosed with Cancer for the second time. That Christmas she was moving back from England, and our entire family mailed her an angel ornament to let her know she was loved and supported. I bought the ornament, and it has sat in the same bag since 2010. Why was I too busy to mail it?
Yesterday I read a narrative of an afternoon run that ended on a beach. It was about slowing down and taking notice. The author’s attention was drawn to the birds in the sand and the simple behavior patterns he noticed when he allowed himself to be an observer. When he slowed down and paused, he saw all these small miracles around him. Both my father-in-law and my aunt loved birds. I could hear my aunt laughing at the narrative, and I could see the sideways smile on my father-in-law’s face. They both would have appreciated the story. As soon as I finished reading, I put on my running shoes. I headed out in the rain and in the cold. I ran without a garmin. I left my phone behind. It was just me and the sidewalk. Every raindrop was a reminder to take notice of the life around me. The run felt like magic.
Later that evening, my husband got home from work. For the first time since the summer after Chet was born, he also put on his running shoes. He headed out into the same cold and rain I ran in earlier, but now it was dark too. I’m thrilled for him that he wants to run. I’m excited about the possibilities it opens up for us a couple, but that isn’t really what matters most. What I saw when I stopped and paused and took notice of the shoes he put on his feet was his love for me. It was as if he was saying I want to share life with you. If this is what you love, let’s do it together.
Thanksgiving has passed. Christmas will be over before I know it. As I’m busy buy gifts, decorating my house, and celebrating with family, I don’t want to miss the important things.
You have to stop and pause when life gets crazy because you will miss it. You’ll have family dinners you barely remember. You’ll have Christmas ornaments that never hung on the right tree. You’ll miss all the messages of love that are hiding behind the wrapping paper and the sparkly tree. What’s the purpose of it all if you don’t stop to notice all the moments that say I love you. Let’s celebrate this life together.