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moments between milestones

posted by rachel

Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. Every day we are given 1,440 precious moments, but do we always pay attention, or are we sometimes forced to push forward to the big milestones in life? Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, retirement, vacation, are all monumental moments that make up the fabric of our lives. We live for them, we countdown to them and once they have passed, we wish we could relive the feelings and just keep a small piece of it with us forever. Living from milestone to milestone can get us from one place to another and help connect the dots of all our hard work, but if we don’t become mindful and pay close attention, we could be missing all those millions of minutes. The beautiful, hard, relenting, painful, uplifting minutes that string it all together and make us whole.

When we train for a race we prepare mentally and physically, pushing ourselves to the limit and improving every day. Every minute that we struggle or triumph should not be forgotten when we cross that finish line. It is in our struggles that we find out who we really are and it is in each minute that we grow to meet our goals. Two years ago I trained for a half marathon with one of my very best friends. It was her first half and I was so honored to be by her side for all the training and to watch her grow stronger with every run. I remember at one of our longest training runs we had a goal of 10 miles and unfortunately the weather was not on our side. The rain and the wind made this run pretty miserable and I wanted to quit with every step. As we got to our ending point at the barn, I looked at my watch only to see that we were just under 10 miles. I thought we would just call it good and head into the barn to warm up, I was so done. But my friend insisted that we complete the 10 miles. “We didn’t come all this way to ALMOST make it.” It was in that defining moment as we lapped the barn parking lot in the drizzling rain, getting in those last few steps that I realized her dedication and strength. This small moment made me more proud of her than the day we ran across the finish line together. The minutes between the milestones are what truly define us.

Last month my dad celebrated his 60th birthday and retirement from 40 years of dedication to his career. Talk about a HUGE milestone. We threw him a party and all our closest family and friends attended. As I gave his retirement toast I could not help but notice the absolute beauty of my parents home bursting at the seams, filled with all their people. It became very clear that what my parents valued most in their world was their people, pouring themselves into their relationships at every turn and passing moment of life. The minutes and milestones of life are not meant to be shared alone. Together we share joy, pain, encouragement, and hope with those that fill us up and this helps us move on to each tiny moment. When you let people in and foster those friendships the minutes and milestones in life becomes that much sweeter.

On this special Sunday we celebrate a milestone with a very important person. Our Fathers. Their strong hands that guide and protect us, and their big hearts that teach and nurture us to follow our dreams. Dads, we admire you and we thank you for all that you are and all that you do. Whether we have our fathers with us today, or our hearts ache for them because they have left us far too soon, my hope is that your day is filled with beautiful memories of all the quiet moments shared with your dad and all the milestones that this life has gifted you with him.