The Unexpected Wake-Up Call - MetroFamily Magazine
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The Unexpected Wake-Up Call

by Emery Clark

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Just the other day I decided to transfer all of the pictures I had stored on my phone over to the hard drive on my computer. It had been FAR too long since I had backed up my photos anywhere, and it was starting to keep me up at night. I have a notoriously bad memory, and the pictures I take are like little lifelines to my own past. At that point in time, there were almost two thousand images on my phone that were dangling on the very brink of existence, sustained by nothing but a mysterious “storage cloud”, which sounds about as concrete and secure to me as a unicorn sigh. I hooked my phone up to my desktop computer and began the transfer process. As the pictures began to pop up on my computer, it suddenly hit me.

My life was literally flashing before my eyes.

The images were careening across the screen in quick succession and they were all jumbled up in no particular order. Instantly the world around me faded away and the images were all that I knew.  As I saw each moment, I remembered it vividly with its full color, sound and emotion. I realized… this is it! This is what life on earth stacks up to! Every single life is a collection of its own small moments- beginning, middle, and end. The images kept pounding up on the screen, relentless, but each one of them was like a throbbing of my heart inside my chest. Before I could catch my breath there were tears springing to my eyes, blurring all of the photos together and splashing down hard onto the desk.  

I was not sad. I did not feel regret or pangs over lost time. The tears were skirting the edges of an awe-struck smile. It was all so… beautiful.

There were little boys in batman costumes and goofy first grins and the 95-foot-tall ceiling of a train station in Kansas City that could pull a song right out of your lungs just from the sight of it. There were pictures of outfits and rainbows and teakettles… warm cookies and old water towers… sunrises and sunsets. There were pictures of the man I love, laughing, and of our little chalkboard in the kitchen with Ezra's heart-felt reminder that "God is GRATE!"

Life is short, and while we may not be able to take anything with us when it is over, we most certainly will leave something behind. The things that we do and the choices that we make will directly affect the generations that follow behind us. This is a reality that many don’t seem to want acknowledge these days. We so often make choices for our pleasure without a single thought of choosing the harder way of character… character that will shape our children or those who look to us for guidance long after we're gone.

As the images flashed, I was moved. I so deeply want to leave behind a legacy of love and faith and standing for what's right. I want to savor  the beauty in the smallest moments and live a life that is truly thankful for each and every breath. I want to smile more and laugh with my head thrown back. I want my children to remember me as a happy woman who loved well. 

This simple transferring of pictures has reminded me of what has true value this Christmas season. It has helped me refocus my goals and attention. What an unexpected wake up call! I am thankful that I had this experience of life flashing before my eyes now, rather than when it was too late to do anything more about it. 

So today, I am choosing to enjoy my moments. I am choosing to dance with my sons by the glow of the Christmas tree rather than stress about the dishes in the sink. I am choosing to live happily in the minutes that are given to me, because I am once again reminded that love truly is the only thing that will remain when all else fades away. 


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