I spent the weekend coaching at Givers 2, the final weekend segment of the Choices program. On Saturday night, there was a 'Christmas' dinner for those who serve regularly on the team. After dinner we sat in a circle and Thelma Box, the founder and facilitator of Choices, invited everyone to answer one question -- What have I learned this year -- specifically from my Choices experience?
We went around the circle, one by one, and each person shared an important learning from their experiences at Choices that year.
Thelma was last to speak. She shared her learning about loss, and the importance of treasuring 'beautiful moments'.
As she spoke, I imagined beautiful pearls being strung together into the circle that is her life. Each pearl represented a moment worth treasuring -- and her necklace was full and heavy for every moment is worth treasuring. And yet, sometimes, we miss so many moments of beauty, she reminded us.
"If I had known the last dirty diaper was the last one I would change, I would have seen the beauty in that diaper," she said.
There is beauty in every moment. If we knew that this was our last moment to treasure, how would we see it?
From where I sit in the living room typing on my keyboard , I can see the sun lighting the tops of the trees just outside the window. My paintings cover the walls surroundins me, their vibrant colours the expression of my creative core that I have cast upon the canvas. The deep wood of the piano glows in the soft light, the maple of the dining room table gleams, its surface reflecting the pink and white of a bowl of roses I've placed there. Mark Bordino strums his classical guitar softly in the background to the quiet hum of the motor of my laptop. I am surrounded by softness, light, colour, gleaming wood and the deep rusts and reds of the furniture in the room. I am surrounded by beauty.
If this were my last moment, this is what I would see.
But it's not and I continue typing, grateful for the time it took to appreciate the beauty all around me.
When my father had a heart attack in 1995, we had two days to reach his bedside and say good-bye. When my brother and his wife were killed in a car accident one and a half years later, we never had the chance to say fare-thee-well. We didn't know our last conversationn would be the last. In that fatal crash, all we could do was gather together with the people they knew and share in the memories of everyone who came to their funerals. In those memories of strangers, I saw a side of my brother I didn't know. A man who was a good friend, a generous neighbour, a caring father. Through their eyes I saw the beauty of my brother and was reminded that I was blessed to have called him brother.
We do not know what the next moment will bring, which is why it is so important to see the beauty in this moment right now as we experience it.
I was reminded of that this weekend at Choices. Surrounded by people striving to be their best, I saw the human spirit rising. I saw the beauty of each soul shining. I saw tears and laughter, fear and courage walking side by side. And in their path, I saw beauty embracing the beast. I saw Love all around.