Pause to enjoy the moment

Have you ever paused to consider the spaces in between?

Let me explain.

Some time ago, I was privileged to interview a couple that had walked more than 300 miles on an ancient pilgrimage route across Spain. (Read the story, “Walking the ancient way,” online at hillsborofreepress.com).

We spent a delightful hour visiting about their journey, but it was a closing remark by the husband that captured my imagination.

“It’s just a different kind of experience when you’re not rushing to get someplace,” he said. “To learn to be present in the moment is a wonderful experience.”

I thought to myself, how often do I get so caught up in the busyness of whatever comes next—crossing an item off my to-do list, finishing a project, completing a story—that I fail to stop and enjoy the beauty of the moment?

If we’re not careful, we make life out to be all about the destination—graduating from high school or college, finding a spouse, landing the dream job, making that next big purchase—and in the process, lose sight of the present gifts around us.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to hike a portion of Mount Fuji in Japan.

At times, fog enveloped the trail. I could not see around the next bend and did not know where the path led. I had no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

With limited vision, my surroundings became more vivid. I stopped to admire the beauty of a delicate flower protruding from the soil next to a burnt-orange chunk of volcanic rock. I conversed with friends around me. I observed my fellow hikers on the trail. I was present in the moment.

There will always be some mystery to the courses of our lives. In the meantime, enjoy the journey.

After all, life is more than “major life events”—our chosen profession, if and when we marry, what type of car we drive, where we settle down. Yes, those things are important, but life is more than that. Life is made up of all the seconds, minutes and hours of every day—the spaces in between—that somehow add up to months, years and decades.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a plan for where we’re heading, but I am suggesting there’s value in slowing the pace and enjoying the journey.

The sum of a life is in the little moments.

So today, take time to really listen to a friend, encourage someone who is hurting, do something for the sheer enjoyment of it, show those closest to you that you care. Pause a bit. Stop rushing to get to the next big thing. Really live. Today.

After all, the spaces in between provide cohesiveness to our life stories.

Janae Rempel covers sports for the Free Press. She can be reached at janae@hillsboro­freepress.com. This column first appeared in 2015.