Now I think of everything I'd say if I had one moment more.
~ Ellen Stapenhorst
THIS POST EXCERPTED FROM MY NEW CD: This Little Light: The Gift of Christmas
I had a dream some years ago that I was about to die. I panicked. Not because I was dying, but because I wasn't sure I'd lived. I was afraid I hadn't used my time on Earth wisely. I wanted the chance to do it over. And I thought in that moment of the dream, that if I could go back, I'd do more good. I'd be less concerned about me. I remember thinking I'd had this chance to be kind, to help. Was I? Did I? My heart sank.
The dream came to mind again recently as I listened to a song by Ellen Stapenhorst called "One Moment More." It's a wonderful song, and devastating. Ellen sings it in a fast, upbeat tempo. A wild and beautiful fiddle takes off in spontaneous bursts of improvisation. Listening only to the music, it's a happy song. But lyrics like, "All the things that I took for granted are slipping away from me now," bring me back to that place in my dream–the "if only I could go back" place.
All the questions I’m longing to ask you,
All the answers I never could hear
Are alive in my dreams 'til sometimes it seems
That I could never hold you more dear.
But, in the song, it's too late.
The train's pulling out of the station.
What has this fighting been for?
Now I think of everything I'd say
If I had one moment more.
The singer missed her chance.
What would you say if you had one moment more … To make things right? To say I'm sorry; I love you; I forgive you; Thank you. Or … I'm sad watching you struggle–how can I help? Or … Can we talk? We've been angry so long, I've forgotten why. I'd like to put things right.
For us, it isn't too late. When I awoke from my dream, I could in fact go back–-and forward. The dream isn't present every minute, but since that night I've been more awake, more attentive to life's key moments, more aware that my life has purpose and more committed to making choices that serve that purpose.
Is this action intended to help or harm? Will it foster connection or build walls? Am I acting out of fear or trust? What are the consequences of this choice?
Something about the light, and about connection. I notice walls, seen and unseen, of fear, judgment, anger, ignorance; walls we put up to keep ourselves safe but that only keep us separate; that keep out the light. I work to safely remove the walls for myself and for others who ask for support.
I try to extend the light of connection whenever I can. For example:
- Smiling and saying hello.
- Connecting with the positive intention in others.
- In difficulty, talking things out instead of resisting or holding back.
When I do come to the end of this amazing trip, I hope I am present, as I was in my dream, because I want to be looking back not regretting the things I didn't do but smiling and remembering the things I did.
As I write this story, I’m looking at photos of my brother and sisters, mom and dad, my husband, friends, and extended family on a bookcase in my dining room and wondering, Have I said enough, done enough? Do they know how much our connection means?
Now I think of everything I'd say …