Milestones and Moments
Thanks to Hot Jeff's case of pneumonia we are spending New Years Eve quietly at home. We brought 2010 in at midnight EST and now the kids are in bed dreaming of a dropping crystal ball, fireworks and cheering revelers.
The unexpected quietness of the night has left me with unplanned time to write and reflect, not just on the last year but the last decade. Has it really been 10 years since Y2K?
This morning I spent some time looking at old photos. I was planning on doing some sort of "Decade in Pictures" for you but as I looked at the photos of a decade gone by I began thinking about how most of my memories are made up of moments, not necessarily milestones and how almost never there is a camera documenting the memorable moment like there is at the milestone. Milestones are almost always planned, hence we can have a camera ready to record and preserve. The moments however, they seem to happen more quietly, with little to no fanfare and typically not documented on film or digitally.
Almost exactly 10 years ago Hot Jeff and I went fishing; we were in search of our first steelheads of the millennium. We caught our beautiful chrome bright pair on January 20, 2000 and our best friend Scott was there to snap the photo of us. Yet later that evening when Jeff asked me to marry him there was no one there to take a photo as we kissed, giggled and planned.
I have a whole album of soft glow wedding pictures taken in 2001 yet not one to capture the unadulterated joy on my face the next morning when it dawned on me that I would wake up to his face for the rest of my life.
Sometimes out of courtesy or appropriateness there is no camera present at our cherished moments. In 2003 as Jeff's beloved Grandpa Ed was dying and his children and grandchildren circled his bed, his daughter whispering him Home to Jesus, no one snapped pictures to put in an album later.
And while I have a whole passel of pictures of the rainy Wednesday evening in 2006 when Samuel made us a family I don't have a single one of me, with outstretched shaking hands, showing an unaware, expectant Daddy a stick with three lines on it.
We have a sweet, treasured picture of Jeff, Samuel and I that we sent as an announcement that we were pregnant with Emily yet no pictures of us, sitting hand and hand with our hearts in our throats hearing the news from our doctor that the ultrasound didn't show any defect in Emily's in utero spine as the blood tests had predicted.
In 2007 milestone and moment quietly intersected as I held a baby boy on the night of his first birthday thinking about how his birthday would furthermore share the anniversary of my adored Uncle Bob's death. It was in that moment that I learned, perhaps, the greatest lesson of this last decade and maybe even of my life: that life really is a circle and when we think we cannot possibly bear anymore pain or loss the Father meets us in our grief and doubt with hope and promise. A birthday party and a final goodbye, a rainbow in a cemetery, a Good Friday and a Resurrection Sunday.
A few days later I would share this epiphany as I gave Uncle Bob's eulogy; I read the timeless Scripture from Ecclesiastes more astounded than ever at their truth and meaning.
Since that time when milestone and moment traversed, I view both with a new pair of eyes; beholding the beauty and fleetingness of both with equality. In view of a birthday milestone that marked birth and renewal and a quiet moment when temporary became eternal, I find myself still photographing the milestones but being careful to chronicle the moments as well.
As a new year dawns I know it will be filled with joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, blessing and loss. I find myself not so much praying to be spared from the heartache but to have an eternal mindset and a Spirit-given understanding that there really is a season for everything under heaven. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what He has done from beginning to end (Ecc 3: 11).