People seem to think embracing life means jumping off cliffs and kissing strangers. Don't get me wrong, there's a thrill to be found in this adventure, but maybe it’s in slowly learning to love ourselves that we find the greatest embrace. Maybe it's less about a free spirit, and more about faithfulness. The choice to actually do something rather than hoping it finds us.
Lately I've been remembering the moments, scattered through time, that made me feel most alive. They ache inside of me, because I desperately long to feel those breaths again. Sure, many of them looked like standing on the edge of this mountain, or jumping off a cliff, or spending twenty-minutes rushing through NYC. Of course those moments made me feel alive. They were supposed to. But there are others, too; often the ones we (I) forget to remember. Like a long sigh after finally finishing that book that held all the words we needed to hear. Or the laughter of a friend sitting next to us. The rush of chills as fall breaks through summer. They look like simple moments whispering us home.
Far too often we believe embracing life looks more like jumping off cliffs and kissing strangers than silent midnights on the front porch and an open field of wildflowers. We never caught the lesson that embracing life comes from more than just being challenged by it. It comes from allowing silence to fill our lungs. It's about finding ourselves down on our knees before circumstance has pushed us there. It's about accepting that it is less about perspective and more about choosing to fill the cup up ourselves.
Of course, I am thankful for the moments that have looked like this, but I am also so thankful for the moments that took my breath away when I was least expecting it. So I'm searching for those. I'm learning that that is how life, it it's fullest, comes to us; small, hidden tugs and whispers. So get off the long road of waiting for something bit to happen, and make a choice.
Life isn't the living on the edge, but all the moments that bring us there. The moments we choose to do something, anything.
I'm coming to learn that rather than accepting the idea of just making a choice, I revel in the reality of having too many choices to possibly make said choice. I've conditioned my heart and mind to look for the perfect cliff to jump off of, rather than finding beauty in all the little cracks and edges. I've taught my soul to never forge through any choice without a lot of noise. Meaning, I'm going to keep searching as I pass up a thousand opportunities, just so I can find the one with the biggest bang. I'm not alone in this. We, in our generation, thrive on the commotion of business and bright spectacles of life. When we see others doing life quietly and consistent, we wonder who knocked them down. That is our first assumption - that something or someone stole their show - rather than accepting (and embracing) that every step in life doesn't need a theme song.
We can go through life embracing the small, hidden moments and come out on the other end a little lighter and a little more pleased with the way we lived than we ever could by only looking for and living in the spotlight moments.
Think about that.
How many choices in your life have you grazed by because they weren't a catchy enough tag line, or wouldn't pop people's attention in 140 characters? How many moments have we ignored because they weren't coming to us as we jumped fifty feet into the water? We desperately want the BIG moment, that we forget there is no big moment to be lived that is not found by embracing the small.
I don't want to miss out, and for so long I assumed that meant I had to go big. I believed that if I wasn't making a spontaneous choice, I was wasting the day. I became conditioned to only accept what would make me actually feel more alive on the outside. I paid so much attention to the care of my need for the big moments, that I now hold more regret for those moments in between that I never learned to embrace.
I don't want to hold on the that regret. I don't want to make it through another twenty-three years with my hands full of nonsensical moments that only felt good for the thrill. I want to make it through another twenty-three years and come out with a heart so overflowing of goodness and grace and laughter and all the moments I chose to embrace with yes.