It’s been happening a lot lately or at least more than I have ever remembered or noticed. It actually feels a little strange when it’s happening because it’s more of a sensation in slow motion and doesn’t have a feeling attached to the experience (at least not yet). But these experiences have been presenting themselves more frequently lately which naturally calls me to ponder what exactly is occurring in these slow motion moments.
It happens when I see a young mom with a newborn baby or when I pass by a park in the middle of the day when my children are at school. It happened when I was in a conversation with my father-in-law about the void that is never filled when you lose a parent. It even happens when I see my husband’s bald spot get larger and larger over time. It happens when I see my son’s feet look almost adult like now. It definitely happens when my body goes through a period of aches and pains like it is now.
It’s these slow motion moments of life moving on and of people in my life getting older, including me, where it literally stops me in my tracks and reminds me of where I once was or the tenderness of life continuing on.
John O’Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher, tells the story of when he was asked what haunts him in life. He replied, “I can tell you exactly; it is the sense of time slipping through my fingers like fine sand. And there is nothing I can do to slow it.”
He continues, “. . . it has been one of the deepest longings of the human heart to strain against the erosion of one’s life, to find a way of living and being that manages to find some stable ground within time . . .”
That’s just it! In these slow motion moments it doesn’t feel stable. In fact it feels like fine sand slipping through my fingers. It feels groundless and in truth there is nothing I can do to slow life down. All I can do is slow my own life down to notice all the tender moments around me.