“For Such a Time as This” by Tania Runyan
Because my mother was still pushing
at midnight, the nurse stayed past her shift
and did not take the highway
when the drunk spun across three lanes.
The boy I caught cheating
from my spelling test in fifth grade
had a repentant epiphany
and grew up to feed orphans in Mali.
And years later, when my missed free throw
lost the game, the other team stayed up
to celebrate, preventing their point guard
from journaling her suicide plans.
If life is nothing more than being on Earth
in a certain place at a certain time,
I have lived it well: signing up for the class
that saved the adjunct’s apartment.
adopting the cat that would have been
smashed on a country road
had the next woman peered into the cage.
Creating my daughter who stirs in her crib
as the rain spatters her window,
her body exerting force on all the matter
in the universe, keeping it in place.
What makes my life meaningful? What
are the moments that enable me to say, “I
have lived well.” There are the big events,
momentous accomplishments marked by
diplomas, praise or fanfare. But most of life
is not those. In fact, some of us don’t have
any really big moment to point to.
I am convinced that the real core of a beautiful life revolves around things much smaller, almost invisible. I have seen that faithfulness to rhythms and ordinary patterns builds a beautiful life. Good conversations, true friendships, laughter, meals together, tenderness, care for one another.
To help a child, to plant a garden, to bake a pie or to fix a lawn mower—these things are all magnificent bits of life. I am not quite old enough to be sure, but I am beginning to believe that when we are almost done living we will remember moments, not missions. We will long for people, not praises. And if we could live something over, it would most likely be a soft moment, a hug, a random meeting or a beautiful day at peace. This is where the angels are.