Some of those moments, I knew right then how special they were. Climbing the last few steps to reach the Christ the Redeemer statue, I was giddy with excitement. I couldn’t believe I was actually here, at a place that I had seen in pictures but never thought I’d be able to see in person! And walking on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema – these are things I’d only dreamed about, and suddenly there I was, with the sand in my toes, walking past kids playing soccer with Rio’s iconic Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) towering in the distance. It was all just as it appears on postcards!
But so many other moments, I didn’t realize until later just how special they were: eating frozen açaí with Brazilian friends I had just met; learning to recognize Portuguese words on signs that I saw; listening to a free concert in the plaza in the small rural village of São Bento do Sapucaí; going for a jog around the beautiful Lagoa do Tacaral, a lake in the middle of the city of Campinas. The memory of each of these moments is just as special to me as those I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Recognizing just how special these simple moments were helped me realize that just about every moment in our lives is special, or can be if we have the right frame of mind. We may not realize it until later. We may wish we could go back and live certain moments in the past. But there are so many more special moments to come, including the present moment. In fact, the present moment is all we really have. The present moment is the only thing that's real, and that by itself makes it special. We just don't realize how special it is. So the key is to recognize how special THIS present moment is.
I returned home from Brazil with the goal of appreciating and giving thanks for each moment, recognizing just how precious every moment is that God has given us. Will you join me in working toward this goal? We really are blessed in so many ways, in every moment of our lives.