Finding value in little moments

Thinking Outside the Box

Kamara Marsh

Three years had gone by since I experienced the break-in. I was able to purchase my first home, an apartment-style condominium on the third floor with security doors. I felt safe locked in my “ivory tower.” How could anyone possibly get access to me and hurt me now?!

My life was beginning to move forward. I was beginning to heal from the injuries I incurred from the break-in. Little by little, the numbness in my arm and face was subsiding and I had learned to read and write again. I completed my bachelor’s degree with a 4.0 GPA, and took a break before beginning pursuit of my master’s degree, as my dream was still to one day become a counselor.

My son Ricky, who was still in preschool, had encountered his own challenges along the way. He suffered from chronic ear infections and hadn’t learned how to talk yet. He had already undergone a couple of surgeries by this time to correct the issues with his ears, unfortunately to no avail. Little did I know at the time, that he would encounter a few more in the next few years.

I clearly recall one night in particular. Ricky was asleep and I wanted to use that uninterrupted time to get my school work done. I was working on my first big paper after enrolling in graduate school. I had a new computer and writing application that I was still trying to navigate learning. On top of that, my writing hand was still numb and I literally had to use my knuckle to type.

It took me quite a few hours to finish the paper that was several pages in length. As I was shutting down my computer, I somehow neglected to save my work and lost the entire document. Words cannot express how overwhelmed and helpless I felt at that moment. I had never come so close to wanting to give up on school than I did that night.

I decided to take a break and go to the kitchen to get a drink of water. I passed my son’s bedroom as I walked down the hallway of our condominium. He no longer slept in a crib, but in a beautiful oak daybed I got when I was younger. I paused in the doorway to check on him. He was lying there so peacefully. I turned around to leave the room and, as I was walking down the hallway, I heard the unmistakable sound of him sighing in his sleep. It was a sound I will never forget that literally gripped my heart tightly.

This caught me by surprise and stopped me dead in my tracks. It was the most beautiful sound to me at that time and in that moment. I backed up and returned to his room. It seemed like time stood still. I have no idea how long I stood there listening and watching him sleep.

It was as if with every breath he took, I felt myself being filled with strength and hope. After all, he was the reason I returned to school. I was a single mom and I wanted a better life for him. I didn’t want him growing up being embarrassed to tell his friends that I was just a grill cook.

I eventually left his room, got my drink and finished my paper. I went to bed that night feeling renewed and focused. I had newfound energy and determination that I didn’t have before. It was if that moment gave me the Superman strength I needed to keep moving ahead step by step. Almost three years later, I ended up finishing my master’s degree and graduating top of my class of almost 250 students.

When I look back at my life and at the moments that stand out the most, I often think of this one. When I get the opportunity to speak to audiences, I often recount this story as a “defining moment in my life.” I believe it defined me in many ways. It first of all reminded me of my long-term goal, helping me not lose sight of it. It filled me with the strength and determination that I needed to keep moving forward, little by little, and not give up. More than anything, it helped me to not forget what I value the most.

I challenge you to look at your life from a new perspective. What moments in your life have stood out and “defined” you so far? What do you value most? Is how you live your life a reflection of those values? Have you missed life lessons because you didn’t stop to see and experience them? You may never know the answer to that question.

In conclusion, I encourage you to slow down and savor each day and each moment as they come. Often, the biggest blessings and life lessons come in very small packages. My hope for you today, is that you learn to find value in the little moments, as well. May you find the same joy and peace in this journey that I did.

Kamara Marsh is a Michigan-made Licensed Professional Counselor and award-winning artist from East Lansing now residing in Alpena, where she combines her gifts of art and healing to reach the world, one person at a time. She can be reached at esimorp@att.net.


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