“We do not remember days; we remember moments” (Cesare Pavese).
IN OUR MEMORIES ARE THE SNAPSHOTS OF MANY MAGICAL MOMENTS. I don’t know how many moments can be stored in one person’s memory, but I know it’s a lot. My father, who at this writing is ninety years old, has a mental photo album that contains enough snapshots to entertain him long past the point when he will need to be entertained! And his has not been an unusual life. Like all of us, he has simply lived in a world where, as the days go by, there are lots of likable, “momentary” things to save up and enjoy later.
Good moments are things to savor. Occasionally, we’re aware “in the moment” that something special is happening, and we should consciously taste every drop of the event as it unfolds. More often, though, it’s only later that we recognize a moment’s goodness, and when we do, we ought to enjoy that memory’s taste with zest and gratitude. The memory may be of a private moment or of one shared with others. Either way, good moments are meant to be relished.
One of the most thoughtful things we can do for others is to make a few moments for them. While it’s true that the best moments in life are often unplanned, spontaneous occurrences, it’s also true that, if we’re on the lookout, we can sometimes find an opportunity to make a moment memorable for someone else. It doesn’t always have to involve a grand gesture or a costly gift; it just takes doing something that says, “I’m aware of you. I acknowledge you. I honor you.” Extraordinary moments, in fact, tend to be made out of very ordinary materials: ice cream cones and park bench kisses, midsummer walks and late-night thunderstorms — things like these are what moments are made of. We don’t have to look far; we just have to look.
The truth is, moments, and the memories that bring them back to us, are windows that look out onto another world. Bound as we are by time, our lives come to us sequentially, one moment at a time. But with each moment, especially the ones that bring intense joy or sorrow, we get a glimpse of something beyond the walls of the workaday world, something that calls to us. Our best moments, then, are those in which we answer the call . . . to dream, to grow, and to live.
“Eternity was in that moment” (William Congreve).