It had been a long day. At four a.m. the baby woke up crying. Wintery roads, a day of meetings, and a stunning headache had frayed my nerves. Soon, I could pick up my children from the church nursery and go home.

It has been nearly six years now – but I remember the phone ringing that afternoon. Another parishioner in the hospital. I said I would go see him that night but inside I was nearly crying. I was so tired. Motherhood and Pastor-hood were both such blessings, but my blessings were exhausting me.

I decided to bring my toddler, Owen, with me to the hospital. We visited the fellow from my church and then Owen pulled me toward the cafeteria. He asked for some string cheese and I told him to find a table.

In a sea of empty tables, Owen plopped down at the one table that already had someone sitting at it. The elderly woman smiled at him over her cup of coffee.

As Owen ate his cheese, the woman and I talked and after a bit she told me she was at the hospital because her daughter was dying.

Then she reached out and touched Owen’s hand and said, “He’s precious.” I smiled.

As we drove home that night, I was still tired. It had still been a long day. But for that moment at least I remembered how beautiful it all is. Every evanescent second.

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