Larger than life – they are the moments where we seem to put the rock in the river and mark life by. They are the defining opportunities that challenge and change the days that follow.
The call from the doctor.
The letter you can’t seem to open fast enough.
The vacation that turned monumental.
The concert you’ve always dreamed of.
The girlfriend getaway you talked about in the sterile dorm rooms of college life.
There are people we define with this title. Family holidays that deserve more than a page in a scrapbook. Memorable vacations we’ve saved our pennies for, for more than a decade. And, fulfilled opportunities that only our little girl dreams could outline.
But, what does larger than life really mean?
What quickly comes to mind is the first time I went to a Barnum and Bailey circus. As a kid, the elephants seemed bigger, the diameter of the center ring was wider than I imagined and we aren’t even going to talk about the man standing in the wire basket with tigers and fiery motorcycles circling his head.
Or the scene from the latest episode of Designated Survivor – two presidents standing on the back porch of the White House looking out across the grounds to an up lit Washington Monument. I cannot begin to imagine the magnitude of that moment where you see the sites you’ve been surrounded with all your life and with a specific turn of events, you are now the one in charge and these monuments and memorials all contain a new meaning.
I’ve been there myself. I remember the night I left my beloved town of Arkadelphia. My sister and I took one last stroll together around the campus. We were mostly in silence. I wanted to walk the sidewalks of 71998 one more time and see if there was any last scene to hide in my heart. It was the same view I turned back and saw 3 years later the night before my wedding. “The street between the Joneses” is the perfect evening view of Berry Chapel. With no cars around and a perfect moonlit night, the shadows are longer and the porch lights almost glisten. It’s an iconic scene. It’s the place where, on the porch with a hymn playing on the bell carillon, a campus tour always seemed to host its magic moment. Where I sat in a pew in silence on an early evening in late March and begged God to explain when I had heard “the c-word”. Or where I stood nervously a little over a year ago, waiting to walk down the aisle to a really cute blue-eyed boy who had captured my heart. Each moment, growing bigger than the last.
But, “larger than life” took on a new meaning for me 3 weeks ago. I was snuggly tucked away on the top bunk under a mosquito net in a steamy room, in an African orphanage. The girls, moms and daughters, who were usually already tucked in as well came bursting through the door and told me I MUST get out of bed and come outside to see the stars. I reluctantly climbed down because my body was creaking more than the rustic bunk. But, the view when I got outside did not disappoint. The clouds of the day had finally rolled away and what was left was the biggest, brightest starry night I’ve ever seen. I know you will read these words in disbelief, unless you’ve been there, but we could see the Milky Way. Yes, the swirly, star gatherings that I only thought existed in text book images and planetarium fieldtrips. I could easily spot the Big Dipper and stars truly twinkled. Like, glowed in and out to show us the difference between a star and the planets that are surrounded with rings. We could see every single detail and the expanse was wider than you could dream about spreading your arms.
Larger, grander, wider, brighter than I’d ever imagined seeing in my whole life!
One of my life mottos is LIVE BIG! I wonder how often I really stop and capture it. There was no way to capture those stars and that African sky with any of the cameras our team had brought. All we could do was stare in wonder and awe; both at God’s incredible creation and our opportunity to enjoy it.
That is truly when moments get big and life is truly larger than you can imagine. Open your eyes, look around, blink, and capture the awe and wonder of every -single-day.
Keisha Pittman McKinney and her husband just returned from a trip to Malawi, Africa. Whether it was the stories of missionaries serving around the world that she learned in GAs (Girls in Action) growing up, supporting the work of PureMission.org through Esther’s House, or just the sheer curiosity of the most underdeveloped country on the largest continent in the world, visiting Africa has always been a dream. This month her sights are set on something new; the skies are bigger, rustic is no longer an obstacle, and the hearts of the people are warmer than one could imagine. Keisha has returned with a new energy and wider perspective of what the world has to offer. No doubt she will be chasing new adventures and recording it all over on her blog – bigpittstop.com. She can be found @bigpittstop on most social platforms – follow along and share the journey!