apple in handWe all zoom through life so fast that small moments—events or interactions that might matter—can get lost or forgotten in the hubbub of the next thing.

There’s no time to ponder or pray about anything that stands out to us—if it hits us, it’s only for a fleeting moment before we move on.

No time to linger over some cute phrase the preschooler exclaimed over lunch, right? No time to stop and stare at the heron soaring overhead or the frost patterns glittering across the window pane. There’s always the next thing—it’s time to rinse those dishes and head out the door for gymnastics!

Next time something stirs you, or you sense a tug toward someone, or a phrase stands out in something you read or hear—stop.

Don’t rush off.

Take it in.

Sometimes all we need is the time it takes to breathe in deeply and out slowly. Sometimes we need to try to engage our whole selves to live fully in that moment … even if only for a moment.

My friend calls these “falling star” moments, alluding to the song that says “Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket/Never let it fade away!/Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket/Save it for a rainy day!” She says that the early years of parenting were such a blur, she regrets that she didn’t pause more often to drink in the beauty, laughter, joy, wonder and delight. But it’s not to late to begin the practice; she’s trying to be slower, to linger in the moment before rushing off to accomplish the next item on the to-do list.

I’m trying to do the same.

After I pause to take it all in, I take one of Anne Lamott’s signature pieces of advice for writers: “always carry a pen.” Or a pencil. And a 3×5 card.

Does that add up to three pieces of advice?

Well, the point is that after we’ve taken in as much of a moment as possible, we can capture it.

If we make a habit of carrying a writing utensil and something on which to write, then when we see or hear something that makes us smile or wince or gasp, we can hang on to it.

It’s a way to return to it later, to think about it. If I’ve written it down, I can look back and remember in order to pray about it, or share it with someone else.

It’s a way to put it in my pocket … and not let it fade away.

Today, try to keep your senses alert and stick a 3×5 card in your back pocket.

Then it’s there, to help you catch a falling star.

Or, perhaps, an apple.

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