So far over the Christmas break we have seen three movies, “Rogue One”, “Sing” and “Collateral Beauty”. Tomorrow we are planning on seeing “LaLa Land” which I think will make it a record number of movies for us to see in a single holiday. I’ve enjoyed all of them so far. I was intrigued by the title of “Collateral Beauty” and wondered exactly what it meant. I asked the know it all, Google, and saw this description: “Our life is a compilation of the good and bad moments which we go through. And life in itself is the sum of those moments.”
Flipping through Instagram today I noticed people posting collages of their favorite memories from 2016. I decided to try one myself and had a hard time deciding which pictures to use. I had hoped to use twelve but for whatever reason the app I had would only allow nine. I looked at the “moments” that I had chosen …. Savannah’s Sweet 16, a swimming picture for Brittany since this was the year her relay team won state, Caroline embracing an orphan, a fun afternoon with Jacob, vacations, a funeral, beauty and sorrow.
And as I looked at each picture it struck me. The collection of our individual days, spent with those we love, make up beautiful years. And beautiful years combine to make beautiful lives.
2017 will be no different I suspect. Sweet, sad, fun, hilarious, magnificent and melancholy moments will all combine to form our year.
So I’ve decided my “word” this year (is that still a thing?) is going to be ponder. I’ve been thinking of it since talking about Jesus’ mother, Mary, during “Five Seconds of Christmas”. Luke 2:19 says “But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart”. The word “pondered” in the Greek is sumballo which means “to relate one thing to another”. She tied the moments together. She wanted to remember. She was making sure she didn’t forget.
The exact moment I “pondered” this Christmas was not Christmas Eve or Christmas morning … but on Christmas night after the commotion of the day was over. We had dinner around the dining room table. The food wasn’t fancy but it was good. The candles were glowing. We ate and talked … and at a certain moment I began to ponder. I wanted to take it all in, treasure it. That exact moment with my parents and husband and kids around the table…it just seemed so good.
And I want to do more of that in 2017. I want to take time to ponder.
I read this week that our brains have evolved to hold onto negative thoughts and let positive thoughts slip off. It said " to retain a positive experience, you have to intentionally hold onto it for 15 seconds to allow it to imprint on your brain (Richard Rohr). So I don’t want to move so fast that I forget to ponder. I don’t want to forget to look around and see the moments. And treasure them. I’ll try to do this for at least 15 seconds. And in that pondering I want there to be a praise. A praise for all God has done and will continue to do.
It’s funny because as I looked back at my collection of pictures from 2016 I saw some good that has come out of bad. Some beauty from ashes. It’s good to take time to ponder.
Ferris Bueller was onto something when he said… “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you’re going to miss it.”. I think the prophet Isaiah was onto something too when he said this in Isaiah 43:19 … “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! “.