Thursday, May 17, 2012

Simple Things

“Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round? Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight? Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast.
Time is short. The music won't last.
 Do you run through each day on the fly?  When you ask, "How are you?" Do you hear the reply?
 When the day is done do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?
You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast.
Time is short. The music won't last.
 Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow" and in your haste, Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die, cause you never had time to call and say,"Hi?"

You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast.
Time is short. The music won't last.
 When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift…Thrown away.
Life is not a race. Do take it slower.
Hear the music, before the song is over.”

-Slow Dance

This poem came to me when I was in high school as a chain-letter e-mail claiming to be written by a terminally-ill girl with cancer, but other reports have denied this.  Whomever wrote it surely touched many hearts with his words.  Even as a teenager, this poem moved me deeply and I have kept it in a file on my computer ever since.  Before today, it had been a few years since I read it, but now I realize how much more pertinent it is to my life.  I am now a mother who often tells my kids to “hold on” or “not today”.  I am a military wife who wishes time to speed along more often than I want to admit.  My mind is always, always buzzing with all the things I need to get done or how I should have said this or that.  At the same time, I often look at my daughter, almost five, and can’t believe she used to be a tiny baby I would hold in my arms.  I think about how I am already thirty and the older I get the faster each year goes by.  This poem reminds me that my song will only play so long.  It reminds me that if I remember to enjoy the simple things, I can make my time that much more fulfilling.

Everyone gets wrapped up in the chaos of life.  But military wives are particularly susceptible to falling into an “I can’t wait until…” mentality.  Who wouldn’t want to rush time when her husband is deployed?  We go through the motions of our days waiting for it to be over so we can cross one more off the calendar.  But by doing this, we miss the beauty and joy in each day.  How often do you stop to look at the beauty of a freshly-bloomed daffodil, or smile when you pass a field of wildflowers while driving down the road?  When is the last time you went outside at night and just gazed up at the stars?  How often do you get frustrated at the amount of noise your kids are making, when you could be simply listening to their joyful laughter?  It is these simple things that give our hearts delight in the everyday, and it is important that we remember to look for them.  Embrace them.  Savor them.  It is not money or material possessions which make us rich, but the ability to grasp the joy of the simple things and “hear the music before the song is over.”  We have the choice to race through life, or to create a life which we will look back on when we are old and know that we have lived our gift to its fullest potential.      

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