Stop a Moment

Not two feet away, within arm's reach, yet separated by a glass window, I saw my newborn baby for the first time as they wheeled my gurney past the nursery. So tiny he looked, with a full head of hair and one fisted hand under his chin. Was he real? Yes, there was a little motion of his jaw and lower lip; a brief sucking motion. Across both eyes and the bridge of his nose was a deep purple and swelling - the evidence of a delivery gone wrong and the resulting C-section that brought us both through the difficult experience.

Like a monstrous rush of a bursting dam, I sucked in my breath hard and gave out a long wail. Out came all my anxiety and fear and pain and worry in a rush of relief, while at the same time came the overwhelming helplessness of seeing that my baby had been bruised and hurt and I couldn't get to him. That much emotion in one moment stopped my heart in my chest. I experienced unconditional love; a love that was so total and expansive that it barely fit in my body, heart and soul.

I've never had another experience like that, but I've had some that have taken my breath away, and for several different reasons. Thinking about these things broke through all the mind-boggling negativity and irrationality that the recent weeks of news have held.

It got me thinking. Just how do we all keep plodding through life bearing the weight of such negativity? So much is unknown. Everything is unknown. No one can even begin to project or predict based on the circumstances at hand. There's no way to prepare, to defend ourselves against the unknown. Just writing this is making me scowl.

I have the answer. I figured it would probably be best to go out and feed my horse, dogs and cats before sitting down to write, or I'd be feeding in the wee hours of the morning again, like last night. It's best to do that before I tell you what that answer is. I'll take you with me.

I put my nose into Odin's shoulder and smelled his wonderfully warm horse smell. I put my head down so that all four dogs could lick my face while I felt the breezes from their wagging tails. Cats were wrapping themselves around both of my legs and reaching for my hand. Odin stood still while I leaned against him to stay upright on my feet.

I laughed. And laughed and laughed. I laughed the entire hour or so that I was out there with my little zoo. I laughed with the pure joy of the moment.

I hadn't realized how much I had squashed myself into a tiny emotional space in self defense. I didn't know I wasn't living in the moment anymore. And, I hadn't noticed the absence of joy.

It's there. It's always there, waiting for me to get back to it. And, it's always there waiting for you too. Joy is not just in the huge, life-changing experiences. It's here in the moments, too. Have you found yours?


  1. Oh, yes. One of the very few moments that I, The Hawg, have cried is when I saw my wife giving birth to my daughter. Quite an experience, to say the least.

    And it is the little things like that where joy is found. It's a negative, nasty world, but it always has been. All we can control is how we approach it.

  2. Excellent post!! I was just thinking the other night when we were out to dinner with the kids and the two year old insisted on kissing everyone over and over and we were all laughing... this is what it's all about; these moments of joy, strung together.

    Lovely, Theresa. Just lovely.

  3. Oh my! When my little man was born, I thought to myself, "Ten fingers and ten toes. He's perfect."

    And yes, in these somewhat stressful times, it is best to live in the moment. I gave up worrying a long time ago. It doesn't do me any good.

    And like you, I get busy, and it all seems to go away!

  4. Though I have never experienced child-birth, your words touch something deep within me. Thank you for sharing that.

    And you are right, there are things that break through the negativity. In spite of all the bad news, maybe we are going through some growing pains (giving up old ways and being forced to find new can be painful). I watched the sun rise this morning, quietly bringing light and life to my part of the world. I chose to be amazed, much like spending time with your animals.

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  6. I remember when my son was born just like it was yesterday even though it was over 38 years ago. It was one of the most inspiring moments of my life and even though we had a "bumpy road" over the years all I have to do when I am down is remember that day of wonder and joy and that little face seeking protection and love that kept me going through the years even when my resources were low and I sometimes felt like giving up.

  7. I'm glad you've found joy in the moment, Theresa. What a touching post. :)

  8. Thank you, everyone, for stopping and taking a moment to let me know that I was able to touch you in some small way. We'll all make it through the tough times, as long as we have each other. Right?