Momentary Pleasures

by Rich Mullins

Release Magazine May/June 1996



Once in a while - just every once in a great while - you have one of those moments. They are those moments that come one at a time, with no interruptions, no competitions, no phone ringing or beeping, no kids screaming for attention, no emergencies, no jamming of the lines, no log pile of ideas...

So you fold that last piece of laundry, you nail down that last plank. You lay that last brick and wash off your trowel with your fullest attention, aware of your deepest joy. You sharpen your lawn mower blade and savor the motion and sound of the file sliding roughly and at just the right angle along the cutting edge. You toss one extra pass of your football with your kid or your dad or your friend, you fine tune your guitar, you reread that last couple of pages of your favorite book, you measure out and keep the safe space between you and the car ahead...

Not often, but every one in a while you have that perfect kind of moment when you put everything you've got into a task and find you have enough, and you feel that, even if you bungle the job, there is little at stake. You sink your teeth into something, put your heart into it, act deliberately, by choice - not by coercion of immediate necessity. You mean what you do as if there was no meaning at all in everything else - you do it for the joy of doing, not just to get it done. You shoot from the hip, swing from your shoulders, and feel that exhilarating grace and balance of having found your center, or having centered yourself.

It is for those every-once-in-a-while kind of moments - far more than for those once-upon-a-time ones - that we can be most thankful. It is in those moments that we find some sense of who we are. Regardless of how grand or how common the event of the moment is, in it we see ourselves at our absolute best - focused, poised and pure - no compromise, no ulterior motives, no self deception or pretense. We see what we are like when we have no point to prove or score, no bills to fit, no scrutinizing to endure... We meet again that child in us who stills loves to swim naked in the cold, quick-running waters of the now - the child in us who can feel in his skin and very bones the warmth and brilliance of the sun. In those moments there is that flash of astonishing recognition: this is not a child who is merely in us - this child is us.

No wonder we love the moments and want them to linger. But for now they can't, so we must let them go. They are the flicker of some holy flame, a twinkling of an eye wherein the dead come alive again. Remember them, thank the Lord for them, but move on into the next moment and be present in it. It is God's present to you.




Copyright 1996-2015. Eric Townsend All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce or publish without permission.