Originally posted on

May I speak to you?
Yes, you!
You, who are at this very moment, reading these words.
Moment! Just a word, but what does it mean? Perhaps we should take a moment to think about moments. Take your entire life, past, present and future and chop it into the smallest slices possible. Now pick one up, and voila! You have a moment.

Moments are incredibly brief, impossible to catch because they race across our consciousness like streaks of light. You take one moment to think about another moment that’s long gone and while you sit and think, several precious moments would have been consumed. Moments make a life. And at this very moment, you are reading my article. In this now that just died while giving birth to another now, you have given your moment, a piece of your life to me. Why are you doing this? Why are you reading these words? Maybe it is because you are my friend and you expect I would have something interesting to say. Maybe you have other reasons which I cannot guess. Maybe you don’t have a reason, just like you do, think or say several things a day without reason. Perhaps you just want to kill time (an idea I have always found frightfully disturbing). Nonetheless, you are right here in this moment, reading this article. Moments ago, you were reading the title of this article, but now, moments have passed, leaving you further downstream along the continuum of time. This right now is a totally fresh moment, one that you have never seen and will never see again. It berths on the shore of your consciousness, holding up a message of crucial import that says: YOU JUST GOT OLDER. I know it is not obvious at this moment, but pile some extra moments upon this, and time begins to weigh heavily upon your physical form; crow’s feet etched deep around your eyes; failing vision, flabby, sagged cheeks that almost touch the floor, wrinkles even on your teeth (if you have any left) and a stooped hunched posture. You are OLD, so old! And we all know what’s next – DEATH, The moment to end all moments.
But hey! You are NOT DEAD YET! But you will soon be. This is where you rebuke me in Jesus’ name and repeat to me what you pastor makes you scream in church every Sunday morning: I SHALL NOT DIE! I beg to disagree. You SHALL SURELY DIE. But when shall you encounter that moment that looms ahead, that impassable chasm in time, that yawns graves? That’s where your prayers come in. It’s fine to pray for a long life. Even I do, but sometimes I ask myself, long life compared to what? The Mayfly (order Ephemeroptera) is an insect that’s known for its extremely short lifespan. It is born, lives and dies within a period that rarely exceeds 24 hours. To the Mayfly, you are a god, an immortal being! A child who dies at the age of one is a Methuselah to the mayfly. And here you are, NEEDING TIME and wanting to live long. At this point I would like to make a few statements.

First, long is a relative word. To the Mayfly, you are a god, but to God, you are a Mayfly (or worse). Second, from the perspective of the Mayfly you have already lived too long but from the God perspective, your life is incredibly short: such that even if you somehow pushed the human limit to the age of 500, compared to God, it could be well said that you never existed.Third,150 years from now, every single person on our planet would have been replaced (that’s if we fail to make our earth uninhabitable by a global
nuclear holocaust or if comets hurtling across space keep missing the bulls eye aka earth).
Have I frightened you? That is far from my intention. The intent of this gesture was to FORCE YOU hopefully TO OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE FACT OF YOUR EXISTENCE. Your life is something you have taken for granted. You say you are grateful to be alive, yet you spend all day hating something or grumbling about someone. You ask God to prolong your days and He looks down and asks you, “Why should I?”
What have you done with those tiny bits of sand that flow perpetually downwards in the hourglass of your life; what have you done with your moments? Do you spend much time thinking about the past; gloating excessively on successes or brooding too much on failures? Do you spend your moments thinking about what she did to you or how you will get back at her? How he was so unfair to you? Or are you the daydreamer, who lies in bed all day, and dreams of a future he doesn’t believe in? To all of you praying for miracles, the greatest miracle is happening to you right now; and it is called the moment, THIS moment. You have had too much of it and so it has lost its meaning, if it ever had any meaning to you. Do not think you have an entire life.
The truth is that all you can have is THE MOMENT and what you call a life and its quality is determined in its entirety by your ACTION OR INACTION IN THE MOMENT. Every impossibility became not just possible but also probable because you are ALIVE, HERE, in this MOMENT. It’s an opportunity that is submitted at your feet every second; a gift from God, a petition from Time and the Universe to you, and on it is written: I am yours; Do with me what you will. But you do not pause to consider the wondrous gift that is placed before you, you have not paused to ponder on its meaning and purpose, you have failed to appreciate it in all its beauty and splendor because you have failed to examine it thoroughly to see what it is. Do you now see why Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living? This is what you have done; you have thoughtlessly, hurriedly, squandered your moments and like the famed Oliver Twist, you keep asking for more. What have you done with what you already have?
To my mind, it is crucial that man should spend his “moment-money” (which I think is the currency of life) THINKING about the moment itself. Don’t we all say, “Look before you leap?” But then we go about all day leaping from moment to moment without that needful pause that bestows clarity of vision, obsessed and possessed by memories of moments now past and engrossed with cares of moment that are yet to come; living in a reverie, never fully in the current moment. Now you see why many wise ones repeatedly tell us that MANKIND IS ASLEEP. You need to wake up, open your eyes and see life and the world as it really is. This you cannot and will not achieve if you do not have moments in which you PAUSE TO THINK. If you do not pause to ponder, then you will not see what is really important, and that is life itself! Life that you can only access, one moment at a time! If you do not reflect, you will not see how incredibly lucky you are to be given this period in eternity TO BE, to DREAM, to HURT, to PRAY, to LOVE, to HATE, to THINK about the moment. What unbelievable good fortune is yours that not only was life POSSIBLE but also that IT IS! What an incredible BOON of whatever thing or being or process that YOU, yes YOU, are a part of this AMAZINGLY COMPLEX AND FORTUITOUS, supremely beautiful and incredible state that is also an opportunity called LIFE. Oh, it’s an opportunity to ………… (fill in the blanks). I don’t know about you, but this feels to me like a BLANK CHEQUE! A chance to be anything, an opportunity to hope, to want, to wish, to try, fail and maybe become.
Okay, I’m done. I now release you to go back to whatever it is you were doing. I don’t need to be a prophet to know that the majority will go right back to the states they were before reading this article. Some will yawn and hurriedly empty these thoughts out of their minds; others will focus on the grammar and the writing style and lose themselves there. But it is my hope that one or two, will take an extra moment, to ponder on these ideas. So let the murderers return to their killing, the gossips to gossiping, the lovers to loving, the haters to hating. Lose yourselves as you always have in the drama called life. But remember every now and then, to ponder if you will, The Moment.
Written by Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Essien


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