We awoke this morning greeted by a fresh coat of white, draping over the outside world. The kids don’t have snow boots so we made an early morning run to the store so they could play in the snow at recess and scoop the driveway when they get home. They love shoveling snow. But as we made our way there, an exciting new idea came to them, “Instead of scooping the driveway, can we go sledding after school?!”
A flash of reasons not to go sledding ran through my mind. Today is the first day of Dressember (read about that here), so I will be wearing a dress and I’m not fond of feeling cold. Amelia has a class later this afternoon and going sledding will require a bit of planning ahead so she isn’t late. The kids’ rooms are a mess and they really need to tidy them up. And we’ve been gone for the past few days so I have a lot I need to do. But…
“Yes. Let’s plan on going sledding after school today. See you then!”
Why Say Yes?
You see, over the years I’ve learned something about myself. I have a lot of good intentions, but I tend to have more energy and enthusiasm when they first occur to me than I do as time goes on. If I don’t use my ideas right away, I may not use them later. I used to assume that opportunities are endless and they will present themselves over and over until I am ready to take them.
But they don’t. Sometimes life gets busy and days turn into weeks that turn into months before I send that card, track down that friend for coffee or hang that picture. Then a year later I realize that sending the card would feel awkward, the friend moved away and the picture is now out of date. Sometimes there is a beautiful snow on the first day of December and then it doesn’t snow for the rest of the season.
I’m left wishing I had seized the opportunity when it was in front of me.
Of course, I can’t fly by the seat of my pants all of the time. I have responsibilities that I need and want to handle well. I know that packing my schedule and to-do list is not healthy for me. I enjoy planning ahead and coming up with a basic schedule, but I don’t want to be so rigid in my planning that I have no wiggle room when an opportunity arises.
What is most important to me today?
There have been a number of things happen recently to remind me of the fragility of life and how quickly it can all change. I would be in complete denial if I went back to living as though there will always be another opportunity to go sledding with the kids. But I admit that I wouldn’t want to do it every day. Somedays, clean bedrooms and a cozy fire are more important to me than romping up and down a snowy hill with the kids. But somedays they’re not.
What is most important to me today? What do I want in the deepest parts of me?
Our dear friend and mentor Dale Phillips uses a phrase that is ingrained in our vocabulary now. He and his wife Beth live with a deep awareness of the eternal, while being intensely present in the moment. Aaron and I long to live like that. May we all take Dale’s advice to “seize the day and savor the moments,” whether that leads to messy bedrooms or a snowy hill.
What opportunity will you seize and savor today?