We spent a lot of our days on autopilot. If you’ve read one of the many books on habits during quarantine, you know that most of our decisions are unconscious ones. And yet the more recognized moments are the ones we put on social media. They are the public celebrations and joys of doing life alongside other humans. There is something beautiful to all the good life seems to offer, but it’s the unseen moments that make up this other part of life we’re not always so keen on exploring.
It’s the mornings I rush out the door, hurried and weighed down by the idea that I must have forgotten something. It’s the messy room that I don’t have time to clean. The moments I’m alone and feel lonely. Or the feelings of not feeling at home when everyone else around me seems to feel at home.
These aren’t the moments we post on social media. In fact, every time I’ve posted anything about feeling down or sad, it isn’t received in the way I’d like it to be. So I shrink back. But that doesn’t mean these moments don’t exist or don’t matter.
I want to get better at acknowledging them. The places of mixed emotion in my heart. Tensions between longing and content. The war of frustration and gratitude. Even the ebb and flow of connection and loneliness-both comes in waves and I wish I was better at inviting them in.
I am also in the midst of trying to solidify rhythms and it’s week 4 of school but life is about to get more chaotic rather than more stable (all of which you will see on the blog!) but it’s hard to feel unsettled, the not-quite-at-home yet, the not-in-a-position-to-stay-rooted yet feeling. Life is a mixed bag, friends. So here’s how I’m honoring the unseen moments.
Related Post: Mastering Life in the Mundane
Write them down
Writing, unintentionally, has been a gift of acknowledgement for me. I find there is more safety in a pen and on a page than with humans. I LOVE a good, deep conversation, but it’s intangible and that’s hard to hold onto (unless you’ve got podcast *wink wink*). You don’t have to write much. It may not even be in the same breath as the unseen moments. But when you do have a chance to settle down, grab a pen and a paper and explore. Go past the surface level observations and start to analyze a little more. This doesn’t mean dissecting your emotions like you would a frog in biology class, but it means don’t be afraid to ask yourself hard questions and wait for your own response.
In writing things out, I often deliberate on some truth that I would have never been able to articulate. Writing helps you see more clearly. It gives you vision for what could be right in front of you. Writing also allows you some vulnerability that you may not be ready to pour into another human quite yet, and that’s okay. Oftentimes, I step back from writing to find a raw emotion that I didn’t recognize was there but one I need more time to sit with before I allow anyone else to sit with me.
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Pause and breathe
For some reason or another, I’ve spent a lot of my life running from emotions to the point where I don’t recognize what I’m currently feeling. This sort of numbing down is one, unhealthy, and two, doesn’t serve me well in the long run. So pause and breathe. Whether you have been feeling tons of emotions or numbed out, pause and breathe. Consider how these unseen moments have been shaping you. Because sometimes the moments are unseen by ourselves.
Reflect and recontextualize. Maybe your mind is telling you lies that you feel are true. Perhaps your body is telling you that something is wrong and you need to go to the doctor. Maybe you recognize that you’re happy and you have a chance to feel grateful. Perhaps someone else’s laughter reminds you to take no moment for granted, and that the sacred is not limited to the religious.
Most of us live lives that are fast, and we need to pause to honor the unseen moments that pass before our eyes as soon as we can blink.
Related Post: Journaling Prompt Challenge Part II
Set up an Ebenezer.
Hold on! I know what you’re thinking. What the dang heck is an Ebenezer? Isn’t that some old dude like Scrooge? Well, let me give you a little context. There’s this new song by Chris Renzema (please check out the whole album!) Anyway this song references an Ebenezer, which is a symbol of God’s faithfulness set up as a reminder for the Israelites. Now I’m not telling you to set up a stack of stones for the unseen moments in your life. I am saying make a marker of them. And you don’t have to do this for every single one.
For me, this is taking pictures. I feel like my camera roll is a series of Ebenezers. I take photos of the view from my room, the desk arrangements, when I’m feeling great, when I’m feeling wistful and most of those don’t make it to social media. This might be jewelry for you. Or tattoos. Even creating a playlist marking a certain mood tha returns in the unseen moments (m god adjacent, show me the real, and remind me how good you are playlists). Or post-it notes. Whatever it looks like, set it up and stay faithful to it.
Watch as your collection of unseen moments markets grow. Trust that the process of writing it down, pausing and breathing, and setting up an Ebenezer will teach you something that you can’t find in public celebration and illumination.
May you write the hidden words of your heart. May you pause and breathe and recognize you’ve stepped into something wonderful. May your Ebenezer be a marker of the sacred and the divine of your human life.
Thanks, friends for reading! Sometimes it feels like I’m all alone on this corner of the Internet, but then you show up. Thank you for stopping by!