ISR Leadership Corner: Treasuring the Moments

by Christine Schacker, ISR board member

I remember the frantic minutes that turned into hours, to days and weeks, as I started my own publishing services business in San Francisco. Working days turned into long nights and weekends that, in turn, were spent enjoying successes and worrying about setbacks. Each minute held crucial meaning, thinking it would determine the entire future–of everything.

And life continued to unfold; with a change of career, new experiences in managing Assisted Living facilities, learning about memory care and dementia, and having to learn a new language that came not from the left brain. Wow. It was like experiencing a bracing wind that invigorated each minute with even greater expectations for what the next would bring. Life moved so fast.

I’m not sure when it happened that the minutes blended and blurred and seemed to convey less. There were so many of them stumbling over each other with no space between. Perceptions slowed down. I worried about what I would do if I wasn’t in charge of all the minutes.

While shopping at a local grocery store, I watched a little five-year-old boy with a Superman shirt racing down the aisle ahead of his grandma. He stopped abruptly to see one of the peanuts he’d been clutching fly to the floor. Before Grandma could utter a caution, he bent over, grabbed the peanut, and shoved it in his mouth, giving it an extra crunch. His eyes and mine met…. the five-second rule clearly applied. Then, with gusto, he marched off to the next aisle. Grandma and I nodded knowing smiles. Yeah, the germs wouldn’t get him. I don’t know how many minutes the interchange took, but I had a moment to savor.

While walking at the Greenbank Farm recently, I noticed a little white dog on the trail ahead. He turned this way and that, shaking a bit. As I neared, he seemed even more upset. I heard footsteps approaching behind me. As I looked at the little dog’s eyes, I saw the meaning of love and safety. As he ran to his owner and practically turned himself inside out, I knew the meaning of home. What a moment.

As I slow down, I recognize that while minutes exist, I haven’t lost anything for being unable – no – unwilling to live only by them. But, more importantly, I now treasure the moments I have that were so often unseen by me. Yeah, I can’t walk as quickly as I did before and don’t stand up as straight as I once did. My hair is not as thick as it was, my skin is certainly not smooth, and my eyes don’t see as well in the dark, so I don’t drive after sunset. But I think I’m the richer for being able to have and hold the moments when a cashier smiles at me, a driver on a busy road lets me enter traffic, or a fellow dog-walker and I see a rainbow at the same time and nod our community.