Ah, yes. The moment.

That snap of the fingers when…poof…change happened.

Or that quiet tap on the shoulder that makes you take notice of now.

That sudden burst when—aha!—you realize something.

Rich and I like to attend a marriage seminar or retreat every year or two, and the last one was perhaps the best yet. (And it was put on free by Coast Guard base here on Kodiak—thanks, Chaps!)  I definitely had a Word Nerd moment during the retreat when the speaker talked of minor, but important, moments in family life.

You know: the greetings and the good-byes, the I-love-you’s and the good-nights.

Dad comes home from work and Mom stops what she’s doing to say “how was your day”.

Billy goes to his friend’s house, shouting “good-bye, Dad!” as he goes.

Mom cooks dinner, and Suzie says, “You’re the best, Mom!”

Prayer and hugs before bedtime. “I love you.” “I love you, too.”

These are tender moments that can either get run-over roughshod by the exigencies of the day, or act like a lubricant to ease and gladden the day’s rush of activity.

Admittedly, this is a soap box of mine, because the last words I said to my Dad and the last words I heard from him were “I love you.” A pleasant, everyday phone call. The next morning after that call, we got the call that he had died unexpectedly.

Not for everyone is the power of the moment made so clear.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says this about the derivation of moment: “[From the Latin] momentum. This word is contracted from motamentum, or some other word, the radical verb of which signified to move, rush, drive or fall suddenly, which sense gives that of force…”

My trusty Webster’s New World College Dictionary, explains that the Middle English took the word moment from the Latin momentum meaning “movement, impulse, brief space of time, importance,” which ultimately comes from the Latin movere, meaning “to move.”

And that’s what a moment does. It moves past you like a whisper of wind, or it explodes onto your consciousness.

Then it’s gone.

Fallen away.

No, we cannot live our lives jerked from moment to moment.

But we can show our friends and family how much we love them by taking a moment to be in the moment with them as we walk through our days.

WORD NERD CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: Look up the derivations of “hour”, “second”, and “minute”.

AND A QUESTION: What is your favorite moment from your favorite book or movie? (Perhaps a greeting, good-bye, good-night, I-love-you. Perhaps just a moment of change or humor or realization.)

Mine? That’s hard. So very many great books are out there. But it has to be in Jan Karon’s Mitford Series, when a thief hiding up in the attic listening to Sunday morning service (the entrance is right behind the pulpit) suddenly comes down for salvation.

Or when Tim, deathly afraid of flying and big cities and romance, simply misses Cynthia too much, and flies to her in an open-hearted act of bravery.

Or the scary moment when Tim collapses from diabetes that he didn’t know he had.

Your turn!

Blessings, Voni

time, clocks