In Jeff Goins’s book The In-Between, he tells this short story that really struck me upon reading it recently:
The other day, I went outside to sit on my back porch, leaving my phone in the house. As I rocked my son to sleep, I looked to my left and saw a huge cumulus cloud growing in the sky. Every second as I watched, it grew, marshmallowing into a great, big cotton ball in the sky. My first inclination was to run inside, grab my phone, and snap a photo. To capture the memory and share it with friends. But some internal urge prevented me from doing so. Resisting the compulsion to capture the moment, I instead chose a different route: to appreciate it. Sitting there and allowing the scene to take me, I knew there was something sacred in that moment, something special and important about being there. (1)
As I said, when I read that paragraph, it really struck me. I made me look within myself and consider my family. Probably, the simple fact that Goins was rocking his son when this happened resonated with me, since it spoke to a moment with part of his family.
There are many times when something happens and it is beautiful, exciting, funny, silly, or sad. Maybe one of our kids makes a super silly face. Maybe we see a pretty mountain while on vacation. Maybe a child learns to crawl, or creates a cool drawing.
What is our first reaction? Often, it is to do just what Jeff wrote in his story. We want to grab our smartphone, snap a photo, and start sharing it across social media.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, and some of that can be good. It allows others to see something that connects them with your family, and sometimes provides a smile for their day, too.
But as I read the story, it made me think: is that my first reaction?
Instead, should there not be a desire within me to enjoy the moment–the beauty, the laughs, the tears, the joy–by just being present? By just admiring? By just feeling? By just appreciating?
And, in so doing, should I not find joy in connecting with my family, instead of immediately trying to connect a picture to Facebook friends or Twitter or Instagram followers? Should I not find joy in just…being?
Don’t get me wrong: you’ll still see pictures of the family on social media from time-to-time. There will always be things we want to share, and we hope the pictures or quotes give you reason to smile.
All I’m saying is that I want this to not be the primary reaction to a moment in life that I could be simply slowing down and cherishing. Instead, I want it to be secondary (at most) to the moment, to the people in the family moments, and to the God who makes them possible.
QUESTION: What are some family moments that you just slowed down and cherished, and you are thankful you did? Share some memories in the comments!
(1) Jeff Goins, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing. (page 25)
Photo credit: Russell James Smith on Creative Commons
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