Friday, December 13, 2013

"All my possessions for a moment of time."

Quite a statement from Queen Elizabeth I, at the end of her life. By the time these words passed her lips, she had acquired quite a few possessions. One has to wonder if she really meant a moment of time. Really--just one moment? Not an hour? Or at least a minute?
But the truth is, every hour and minute and day of our lives is made up of moments. In a moment, we breathe in a deep breath of life. And we make a decision. Every moment means another decision. A decision to live in joy or misery. A decision to be angry or forgiving. A decision to love or to hate.
This may sound all vague and religious. I mean, what is joy and misery, or love and hate? How does that translate to our everyday lives? I’m not really thinking about that metaphysical kind of stuff when I’m vacuuming, or grocery shopping, or trying to poach an egg.
But I think it’s the fact that we’re not consciously thinking about it that makes it so hard. We’re not constantly saying to ourselves, “Am I going to choose to be happy or sad right now?” Maybe if we could think about it all the time, it would be a little easier to choose happiness. But we can’t. We constantly get distracted by questions of what could be making those crackly noises in our vacuum cleaner, or why the average grocery store doesn’t sell large bottles of lemon juice.

And it’s in those moments of constant distraction, when it’s the hardest to choose to be happy or loving or forgiving, that I think we, as people, are made and defined. We’re not made up of our huge life events, like getting married or having kids or having a successful career or anything like that. Those things matter, but they don’t really say much about who we are. I could show you a timeline of my life, but that wouldn’t mean you really know me. I’m not made from events. I’m a patchwork quilt of every moment in my life. If you could pull that quilt over you and examine each square and every stitch, then you would know me.
That, I think, is why Elizabeth I wished for one more moment. Because maybe just one moment would have tipped the scales. Maybe just one moment could have changed who she was.
This blog is for my writing, but I don’t write about big things. I don’t write about politics or current events. I don’t write fantasy stories about queens or princes. I write about moments. I write about everyday failures and victories. I write about poaching eggs and looking for lemon juice.
Because even though we may not believe it, each of these moments is worth a world possessions.

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