The past week was a bit stressful. My last full week of school, complete with day-long meetings, field trips and assessments, and the ever-changing plans of out-of-state company made things more frantic around here than normal. Friday afternoon, our company arrived and within a couple hours we were enjoying the deck, take-out pizza, wine and each other's company. Saturday brought a trip north to see James' folks along with his brother and sister. The frenetic pace of getting everyone accommodated for, snacks packed, plans made and finally the drive itself was tempered by a day of sitting on their screen porch with a beautiful summer breeze, laughing, talking and catching up.
In the midst of all the goings-on, I found myself sitting comfortably in a chair, watching a nearly 90 year old man tease his 87 year-old wife; a baby brother provoking his much-older sister; and an older brother try to remain stoically unemotional when surrounded by his loving family.
I could feel it with every heart beat, "Be Present". I need not think about the upcoming last few days of school, or the long drive home, or what health ailment might next prove overwhelming to James' aging parents. I need only to be.here.now. I took a breath and I watched, I listened, I laughed.
I saw my husband wink from across the room, something that always makes me smile. I saw a sister, walking with her mom through the yard, ostensibly to look at the flowers, but as it had been two years since their last visit together, I knew it was a chance for a mom and a daughter to say anything that needed to be said - just in case. I saw an elderly man who seems anything but on most occasions - a man who still mows his lawn, makes the traps for the gophers and invents devices to make watering easier on his back - laugh at the antics of the grown children. I heard jokes, teasing, discussions about each person's life and James' never-ending quest to learn everything Henry has to offer. Wisdom is always shared with humility in this house. I heard a compliment from a master-of-everything to The Mister about his syrup making - a compliment that will never be forgotten, coming from the wisest man we know.
I heard it again in my soul, Be Present.
This trip was a reminder that time stops for no one. It's a thought that's always near the front of my mind but watching it unfold reminded me of the preciousness of the moment. We long-ago stopped taking our cell phones into his mom's house. Everything else can wait. Beyond just feeling over-full from all the food they are intent on us eating, we leave with our souls feeling full; our hearts overflowing. We always part knowing the next time is never promised to us. We leave knowing their love abounds and everything else seems unnecessary. We leave knowing, in every way we could, we wanted these people to know how much they matter to us and how much their love shapes our world.
I pray we have many, many more such visits, but if not, I pray that these beautiful people know without a doubt how much their very presence was a gift to us, each and every time.