by Ruslana A. Westerlund
A memory from 2 years ago popped up today on Facebook of living in the moment during this busy season.
December 20, 2017. Rob and I were wrapping gifts last night, watching the Lampoons Christmas Vacation movie (again), and I realized something that was important to me. The whole night we were silly, Rob was singing songs about “poor Tennessee Christmas” when we ran out of ribbons and gift name tags something about the mines stopped working and we had no money for ribbons and bows… We started using post it notes as gift name tags. The fire was going, the movie was on. The kids were trying to sneak up and see the gifts. Everyone was just happy. I paused and thought for a moment that this is the moment to be present in, not just wait to be happy on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, but DURING the preparation, enjoying the moments leading up to Christmas. I tend to miss seeing the joy in the journey because I always live in the future. But living in the present is the true present I gave myself.”
Three years later, on December 19, 2020, we went for a drive-through nativity at Blackhawk church and the line of cars was backing up onto the main road, lasting 1.5 hours long. We had Christmas music on, there were Christmas lights everywhere, creating a stark contrast with the winter evening darkness. But I was getting antsy and Rob reminded me that it’s okay to relax. “No one is in a hurry.” he said. And yet, I was the only one who was in a hurry. I’m like an energizer bunny who is always on the move. Sometimes for no reason at all. Like this evening. The boys in the back were talking about music theory, the physics of fire, the birth of the universe, the astrophysics of black holes (Julian is majoring in physics and his brother Nicky is curious about things, so this is a perfect combination). We sat in the front and just held our hands as happy parents savoring this moment, hoping it would never end. I thought to myself, what I can do to savor this moment and capture it, and at the same time, to freeze frame time, so it can stay still for a moment and not escape like vapor? I realize that because there was no picture of either of those moments, I thought I’d use writing to freeze frame time. And because writing is so one dimensional without the images and color, language has to work all the work. So, I have to choose words carefully as if words were pictures in a movie, helping the moment come alive.