This post is dedicated to each and every person who suffered tremendous loss and devastation due to the deadly tornados that ripped through towns across the southeast on April 27, 2011.
I have had several readers ask me, “How do you let go of the insignificant?”
I have been unable to give a definite answer.
I often have people ask, “How do put distraction in its place?”
I struggle with it every single day.
But yesterday, there was no struggle. Yesterday, the answer was crystal clear.
How do you put the meaningless, irrelevant, insignificant daily distractions into perspective? How do you finally figure out what matters and what doesn’t?
It is when you fully realize with 100% certainty that today could be your very last day on earth.
And for some precious souls, it was.
I live in a state that has been deeply affected by the rash of deadly tornados that occurred on April 27th. My experience yesterday in regards to the storm is only a sliver of what others have painfully endured, but what I realized in my fear is a grim reality that I don’t want to ever forget. I feel it is worthy of sharing.
This is my story…
In the early morning hours of April 27th, the electricity in our house went out. As my daughters and I cuddled in one of their upstairs bedrooms, I suddenly realized what was going on outside was not a severe thunderstorm or even just strong winds. I grabbed both my daughters with unexpected urgency and said, “We must go to the basement right now.”
I didn’t have time to grab my phone or a flashlight, so we quickly felt out way down the dark stairwell, never letting go of each other’s hands. We leaned up against the concrete wall as sounds I had never heard in my life filled our ears.
Without thinking, I began to pray out loud. That is when my seven-year-old’s eyes filled with tears, and she asked, “What’s going to happen, Mama?”
At that moment, I caught a glimpse of what I have been desperately searching for on this journey to let go of distraction and grasp what really matters.
Once this storm passed, grim weather reports filled the airways, cautioning us to prepare for round two. Meteorologists calculated the storm would hit between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and it would be much, much worse than what came through in the morning. Words like “catastrophic” and “major loss of life” were used repeatedly.
As much as my fear gripped me, there was a little voice in my head that said:
Remember this feeling.
Isn’t this what you have been searching for?
Isn’t this the answer to every question you have ever had about letting go of distraction?
And then as if my eyes were opened fully, the minutia was pushed away; the insignificant faded into the background; the trivial completely disappeared.
And what was left standing were not things.
Standing out like a shining star was my family…and spending the precious God-given moments of my life with those I love.
As my daughters and I awaited the impending storm and prayed for their Daddy’s safe return, every single moment became a celebration to me….
Watching my youngest daughter dress herself from start to finish,
Without rush, without haste,
Listening to my oldest daughter read aloud,
With no correcting, just listening and absorbing,
Watering their potted flowers on the patio together,
With no warnings of too much water or dirt on the floor,
Watching them delight in a rare treat of “Cheetos,”
With no cautions of “too many” or “shirts are not napkins,”
Tenderly applying sunscreen and gently brushing their hair,
Without the angst of a hurried pace,
Making up a silly song so I could ingrain their melodic laughter to memory,
Savoring, just savoring
Each and every moment and each and every breath.
By the grace of God, my Hands Free inner voice spoke as clearly as it ever has before:
Now is the time.
Now is the time to look into their eyes until they succumb to sleep.
Now is the time to say, “I love you,” so many times you lose your voice.
Now is the time to hold them until your arms grow tired.
Now is the time to laugh until your belly hurts.
Now is the time to whisper prayers of gratitude until you account for every blessing.
Now it the time to perceive ordinary moments as gifts.
Now is the time to live in THIS moment.
Now is the time.
Now is the time.
Because you just don’t know what is about to come your way.
Tell someone “I love you.” Give hugs freely and let them last. Look into the eyes of those you love and memorize the color. Say yes…yes….yes. There are not too many things that have 100% certainty in this lifetime. But one thing is for certain: one day will be your last day on this earth. Now is the time, my friends. Now is the time.
ABC News lists ways you can help tornado survivors:
*You can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
*You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and donors can text “GIVE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Checks can be made out to the Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, Ga., 30384-0339.
Alabama’s governor also has a relief fund donation page here.
Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions will be touring affected areas today and also has a relief page here.
Help by sending your thoughts, prayers, and aid to those in need.
The Now Is The Time by Hands Free Mama, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.