There are moments in life when you wish you could hit the pause button. But those moments go by quickly and sometimes we don’t learn to appreciate them until they are already gone. Sadly, life doesn’t come with a rewind button.
Some of my best memories were not necessarily significant life events. Sure, there was my wedding day and the day my sons were born. But there’s also the day that I picked my mom up from work and took her to lunch at the Barbecue Kitchen in College Park, Georgia. I’d like to do that again.
A few weeks ago I was planning on getting to work early. As I was heading out, my son caught me.
“Dad, I’m going to play trains.”
“Great, buddy. Have fun.”
“But I want you to play with me.”
I looked at him. I looked at the door. I looked at my watch. And I hit the pause button.
Ten years from now neither one of us will remember what time I got to work that morning. But I think that we’ll both remember the morning we spent playing with trains in the living room floor. Ten years from now he’s not going to want to play trains with me. And there will be no rewind button.
There’s a temptation to think that real happiness happens in the future, like when the kids leave the house or you get to quit working. This is a lie. After your kids leave, you’ll be harassing them for not visiting enough and if you retire you’re just going to end up finding another job. And you’ll know that you’ve missed it. You missed the joy of those small moments because you were chasing the mirage of something bigger in the future or some distant memory. But life has no rewind button.
Earlier this week I was having dinner with my family. It wasn’t a special occasion. Just another weeknight meal at our kitchen table. My sons were bombing me with questions about heaven. Finally, one son turned into Barbara Walters and asked me a probing question.
“Dad, what about here on earth? What’s the closest thing to heaven for you here on earth?”
His question reminds me of another childhood memory. This one, a quote from a movie.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I paused and looked at my son, thinking about his question.
“Right now. This moment, with the four of us sharing a meal at our table.”
It’s only when I hit the pause button that I really appreciate each moment of life for what it really is – a gift from God. But, like most gifts from God, you have to learn to be content. Content with what everyone else thinks is insignificant. Because if you miss those insignificant moments now, you’re really going to miss them later on.
And life doesn’t have a rewind button.