“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau
As I walk into the room, I see Bert whom I had earlier agreed to meet here. I am a new resident in Mobile, having arrived a couple of weeks earlier in response to a job offer and promotion from the regional director of Woolco, a division of the F.W. Woolworth Company, my employer. When you are single and in your 20s, getting settled into a new town is a process full of challenges and opportunities. Bert’s earlier suggestion to meet him for a beer at a local night club sounded great to the new kid on the block.
Starting over in life. No real local friends. No family to fall back on. Whatever happens from this day forward will be my own creation, fueled by my own response to those whom I meet on my journey. Even though early in my career with Woolco, this is already my second geographical move and I had embraced both new assignments, relying on previous challenging experiences of multiple moves during my high school years – compliments of directives from the company which employed my dad. Those high school moves were the toughest ones in my life. As an adult, my reflection back to those hard times in the vulnerable years as a high school student led me to an inner belief that I could and would be willing to move in the future if asked to do so by my employer. Woolco had asked.
I ordered a beer and joined Bert at his table in the Boom-Boom Room (yes, that is the actual name), a night club located in the Ramada Inn Hotel. Mentioning that his sister is here tonight with some of her lady friends, Bert suggests an introduction which I immediately accept. We walk the short distance to their table and Bert briefly makes the introductions. A few minutes later, I ask Carol for a dance. There are no small moments in life!
The story I was told, years after we had been married, is that Carol went back to her table after that dance and told her friends, “I am going to marry that guy.” My conversation with Bert was much different. That initial introduction and dance led to some dates and marriage two and a half years later. That night, I would not have predicted the eventual outcome.
It would not be my top recommendation to any of my younger single friends or my older grandkids to go to a night club to find their future spouse. But, this is how it happened for Carol and me. There are no small moments in life.
What was the most important moment leading to all that is true about my life today? Was it that dance? Or, was it those moves in high school that led to a willingness to move later in life when asked? Or, was it multiple decisions made by my dad to move with his employer?
Or, was it . . .?
Yes, you see the point. Any of us could draw the same conclusion if we took time to review the major events of our lives and the decisions that were made that led to this very moment. The odds of winning a lottery are much better than the odds of all the seemingly inconsequential events that have occurred and been instrumental in many outcomes – bringing us to this instant. What are we to make of all of this?
There are no small moments in life! Live today with the understanding that the events and people who are part of what happens to you today are undeniably significant in your life. Incidents may appear to be routine, boring or unimportant. What seems unremarkable may in fact be just the opposite. The magnitude of the effects of today and the decisions we make in the so-called small moments may not be fully realized until much later – months – even years. We cannot know. We do not know. We lack full knowledge of the future and how the events of today will shape the long-term aspects of life.
I resolve with all of my mind, heart and spirit to fully embrace this moment, knowing it is critical to my future.
I will look at those who cross my path, those whom I know intimately, and even people I meet for the first time, as possibly the most important individuals in my life. The potential of something great and life-changing is present today. What will I do with this opportunity? This very moment, although seemingly minute, is yet a powerful thread in the fabric of my future.
A couple of years after our initial introduction, at a beautiful waterfall in Oak Mountain State Park in Birmingham, I asked Carol to marry me . . . and she said, “Yes!” Nothing has been the same since that day she walked down the aisle at Corpus Christi Church in Mobile.
And nothing has been the same since that day during high school, along with other very sad family members, I got on that bus to travel to a new town far away and to a future I had not even imagined.
Today Is a miracle.
I will embrace this moment!