Moments in time

On a run with scholars a few weeks ago, we rounded a corner on the winding road and came to a clearing in the fields with a perfect view of the rising sun, its pink hues casting a halo around the surrounding clouds. I nearly stopped running, overtaken by the beauty. In Rwanda, they say the sun greets you hello. This is precisely what I received.

“Kodak moment!” A scholar proclaimed. Another agreed, adding he wished that he had his camera.

I grimaced at the far reaches of advertising. Stupid Kodak- hijacking our moments.

I understand the sentiment. There are those moments in time- snapshots of living- I hope to hold onto. I feel this desire here
most often with my homestay siblings.

Today, as we made an impromptu dance to the jukebox in our heads, I hoped I’d remember the delight on their faces. Yesterday, when we threw the tennis ball high in the air to see who would catch it when it fell back down, I yearned to bottle the contagious ecstasy of the children’s laughter. Last week, as I was greeted with a giant group-hug of all of my siblings and neighborhood children, I wished my mind were a camcorder that could play the moment on repeat.

But, these moments are not meant to be captured and held. The feelings they invoke cannot be contained on a two-dimensional screen or glossy paper. I’ll carry them, certainly. Yet, even dwelling on them will not serve us well.

Their magic is in the experience of being fully present to what is before me. As we communed with the sun, time stood still. When I connect with the children, responsibility, worry- the past and the future- fall away. Only now stands, boldly and brightly, yoking the mundane and divine, aligning head, heart, and will in a resounding yes.

In the proclamation that it is a “Kodak moment,” we bring our construct of time to the forefront of our minds, reminding ourselves that there will be a time when the present is but a memory. We whisk away our presence to what is in our insistence on grabbing for what might not be.

So, while I understand this desire, I don’t want to live a series of camera clicks, but instead remain within a continuum of present moments. I hope to put my camera down, to not experience life behind the shield of a lens, but with my eyes wide open, my heart welcoming the now, trusting the not yet and not again to be their own moments, beckoned and rooted by my every breath.


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