Seize the Moment

My word of the year is DELIGHT. I love the multi-layered meaning. Its definition is extreme joy, which reminds me to find beauty in the every day world. In addition, the sound of the word evokes a feeling of weightlessness: learning to let go of things that hold me down in order to adopt a more carefree lifestyle.

Unfortunately I often forget this resolution. My comfort zone is to focus on the end destination; I rarely enjoy the journey along the way.

Recently I discovered delight and fear are closely related: if I desire delight I must be willing to overcome fear – to step out of my comfort zone for a short while.

In early September I made a conscientious decision to find delight in a Sunflower field. I wanted to take my camera and try to capture the color, whimsy, and glory of these late summer blooms.Sunflower Field - Molly T

For many this would seem a simple task, but for me it was filled with fear.

First I had to drive to the field, on a toll road no less. Will I be in the wrong lane? Will I drop the change? What if I lose the ticket before my exit?

The country field was about an hour away, along a gravel road not easily accessed by Google Maps. I fear driving to unfamiliar locations. What if I make a wrong turn? What if I have a flat in the middle of nowhere? What if I can’t find my way back?

I also suffer from “impostor syndrome.” I know I am not a professional photographer, so I fear others judging me as I carry my camera: Who does she think she is? I imagine their critical comments as I try to find the right angle and the appropriate f-stop.

But on this Friday morning, I filled the tank with gas, made sure my cell phone was fully  charged, and ventured out.

Although I got lost once, I managed to maintain composure and a positive attitude. Phone signal was weak, but I eventually connected long enough for GPS to get me back on track.

Sunflower rows - Molly TAs I rounded the bend toward the field, the view startled me: deep golden yellows and vibrant greens as far as the eye could see. The sky was a bit hazy, but the blue was evident. There was even an occasional wisp of white clouds that added dimension to the landscape: perfect photo conditions.

I spent nearly an hour wandering the field, snapping pictures, and delighting in God’s artistry.

One week later a severe thunderstorm moved through the area and destroyed the field. The once vibrant flowers who lifted their eyes toward heaven, were now stripped of color, hanging their heads in pain.

Had I stayed in my comfort zone, paralyzed by fear of things that never materialized, I would have missed the splendor and beauty of this ordinary Kansas field at its glorious peak.

While the sunflower may be our state flower, it symbolizes so much more to me: a reminder to seize the day, discover delight, let go of worry, and always trust God on this life journey. 

©2015 Molly Totoro for GateWay of Hope

Molly Totoro is a writer and a recently retired English teacher who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share” and is currently establishing a ministry, Milestone Memoirs, where she helps others discover and write their stories to impact future generations.  Molly frequently writes about the need to leave a legacy on her Stepping Stones blog.