Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Defining Moments

Do you remember a defining moment in time when the earth shook under your feet and jolted you awake from your unconsciousness?  
Or it may not have been so dramatic as an earth-shaking instant, but perhaps it was a more subtle shift in awareness, a mere seed planted in the psyche that grew to reach for the sky while you slept, like Jack’s magic beanstalk.    
Defining moments come unbidden, like a sudden storm that catches you in the pouring rain and drenches your whole being.   Or like a stray cat that quietly shows up at your door and welcomes himself into your life, invites you to adopt him and claim him as your own.  
Moments like these come any time, any place, when and wherever they please.  Maybe you were reading a book, or watching a movie, or taking a walk, or sitting in church, or chatting with a friend.
Maybe you had a dream that changed the course of your life, like Martin Luther King Jr. 
Do you recall a certain moment in time when you were altered by a thought that hit you like a tornado, or either crept in gently like the dawning of a new day?
Most of us have had a number of these defining moments that appeared out of the blue to help shape our character.  Certain movies possess the capacity to awaken and stir the soul to action, like Pay it Forward, which aroused a movement.   Or Field of Dreams, which inspired a frame of mind.

Have you ever sat spellbound while viewing a movie, and afterward felt that you were moving through the actors’ world, walking in their shoes, living in their fictional dream?
Well I have, more than once.  As a child I sat mesmerized in front of our TV and watched Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke portray Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller in the movie, The Miracle Worker.   This was a defining moment for me.   A desire was born that day. 
I grew up wondering what it would be like to live in a world of silence.  Every time I heard a train whistle, a clap of thunder, the crash of waves on the shore, the beauty of music, the singing of birds, the sound of rain, I wondered.  
Could I become a miracle worker?  Why not?  Annie Sullivan transformed a feral and willful child into a warm-hearted, intelligent girl.  And Jesus, a big-league miracle worker, even opened the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.
 Long story short: I responded to the call and set out on the journey of hope.  But I’ll save my miraculous adventures for another day.   You’ll have to wait for another carrot, or an apple.   I won’t shove the whole bale of hay down your throat at one time.   So stay tuned…
 How about you?  What has been a defining moment in your life?  


  1. I climbed the Great Wall of China. That was my defining moment. Such 'Great Wonder' was so real, so incredible and having climbed it was a moment I do not wish to trade for with anything else...
    It was just phenomenal! I even stopped to contemplate how the Chinese people did it with no machines to aid them with the process for building the walls. Moments like this made me think that there is nothing impossible if I just believe in myself and work for what I believe for...

    This is such an inspirational post Debra. I love how you describe them all...
    Thank you for always coming up with beautiful post like this one...


  2. Love, love, love the metaphors!!!!! I adore metaphors :-) YES! In L.M.Montgomery's book (one of my favorites), her protagonist experiences "the flash." A moment so profound that, afterward, she attempts to capture it on paper! As a writer, I have felt those "flashes" and tried to grab the words and scrawl them down! Meeting the Dalai Lama was amazing, attending college as an adult, incredible, but the births of my children are unparalleled events!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog :O) Love your writing. The most powerful defining moment I can think of was when I was reading The Doll's House by Ibsen, and it hit me that I'd been imprisoning myself for years by the way I thought.

  4. you are invited to follow my blog

  5. My defying moment was when I got the call that my younger brother had died in a car accident. I realized how fragile life was and it forced me to make some life changing decisions.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

  6. The beauty of one in my life is that I remember all those definding moments I had in my life, it's amazing when you can look back and see where you came from..God is good

  7. Helen Keller's story is such an inspirational one. I'm so glad her story inspired you to help others. :)

  8. @Debra...thanks for dropping by. Yeah, it is nice to know other travel bloggers. Speaking of the photo, you're right, it was taken in the northern part of Ireland. Giant's Causeway is one of the UNESCO heritage sites and it is indeed a must-see attraction while visiting Northern Ireland.

    On the other hand, this post reminded me of simple things that somehow influenced my present life. Being an optimistic person, I do believe that every moment unfolding before our eyes has something to tell us...and it is amazing to discover them in the path called life! I looked back when I watched this BBC documentary about Yellowstone National Park and the feeling was like I was there with the photographer/cameraman capturing the events as the animals living in the park venturing to live during the seasons: winter, summer and spring. It was magical!

  9. Debra, I really enjoyed reading your post today. Very heartwarming and made many of us think a little.

    I myself have many life changing happenings, some that brought sadness and made me see things in another light, while others brought so much joy I felt like screaming off the rooftops.

    I would agree with pamanner, which would be the birth of my 5 beautiful children, nothing can compare to that with the exception being a part of the amazing birth of my granddaughter, the sweet tears of joy fill my eyes now as I type.

    Thank you again Debra, can't wait to see the rest.

  10. I have added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit my blog and become a follower also.

  11. Debra...this is such an inspirational and beautiful post!

    I've had a few defining moments I can think of...but one of the most powerful was when I gave birth to my daughter and held her in my arms for the first time. I had never experienced a love that was so profound before...I always loved children/babies before, but I had a new realization of how precious and what miracles they truly are.

    Thank you for your beautiful articles...they always are a source of encouragment and make me think! :)


  12. Defining moments in my life, I've had a few but the most defining moment was the day my mum told me she was proud of me. My mum's a bit of a cold fish and as much as I know she loves me, she had never told me she was proud of me. She told everyone else but not me and they never told me either.

    I had a bit of a moment not so long ago and she said "you have no idea of the type of person you are" I thought OMG another lecture! but she went on to say "I love you and you make me proud everyday of my life" it was definitely one of my defining moments. Wonderful inspiring post - was a pleasure to read.

  13. hello Debra, You probably could guess what mine is. I also can so relate to immersing yourself in a movie and seeing yourself as one of the characters.

    Lovely post that does make you think!

    I give you permission to follow me. Oh hang on you already are! and I didn't have to ask! hehe


  14. My defining moment? Well,when i got my first superbike at the age of 20.After reading your post,it made me sat back for a while and started counting my define moments.Nice to ponder over it.Anyways..love your post.Thanks for sharing.

  15. Beautiful post, as always, Debra! :-)

    This made me think deeply and gave me an idea of what I should write about in my next post. :-)

  16. Thanks for becoming a follower on my blog and Yes I have always been homeschooled. :)

  17. My defining moment was on November 13, 2008; the phone rang and my sister announced my brother was dead. He had taken his own life. His choice changed my life, I pressed into God and my huband for every breath, for the next few days as the reality of not seeing his depression for what it was. I have learned so much since that day and pray that his last words that day were to Jesus to save him from all the despair. I will not know the reason why this side of heaven and it saddens me to watch my mother continue to grieve even now. I know that Jesus has brought me through the loss and continues to strengthen my resolve to be more diligent about other's who express depressive thoughts or act out of sorts. Thanks for stopping by my blog , your writings are beautiful. - Nicole

  18. "Elizabethtown" the movie stirred me......Thanks for giving me a reason to pause!

  19. So inspirational! Made me really think. Defining moments...when my husband seriously asked me to marry him (had asked 7 times but never seemed to be serious); when they placed my children in my arms after they were born; and when we moved and I drove away from a house that I had designed and built.

  20. @Nicole. Glad you have found a way through the grief, and learn from the sad event.
    My life defining moment was 40 years ago- I met a girl....

  21. my life truly changed when i entered college and met the teachers who would change my perspective of the world, and who would inspire me to be just like them.

    now, i am living that dream i once had of becoming a teacher, and i will never regret that decision, that defining moment, that i chose to enter this line of work.

  22. It's weird that I don't really remember any "defining moments" in my life. Yet when I look back on who I used to be, I see the massive changes between then and now, and almost all for the better.

    Sometimes things can be defining without us even noticing them. And sometimes those can be the most profound.

  23. Also, I'm now following you on Google (thanks for the follow, by the way!), but when I try to do so on Networked Blogs, it says "blog doesn't exist."

    Since I'm reading it, I just want to say "yes, it DOES!" :)

  24. Love it! Great questions. I'm finding that for me, defining moment surround day by day, moment by moment. As we grow into more and more consciousness and awareness, we learn to "See" (with a capital "s"). The past three years, for me, have brought a whole series of defining moments. These moments I have captured through blogging because I did not want to forget what I learned: http://www.ronirvine.net/blog.html

  25. What a beautiful blog. Thanks for visiting and leading me to your spot here on the web. I am so glad to have spent time here.

  26. DEBRA I really love your blog: It is so poetic.!..your descriptions are accurate,simple but thrill me and lead me to reflect upon the important things of life.The real significance of Life lies in the very deep of ourselves.
    Thank you DEBRA for sharing.♥

  27. This is such a lovely post...would you mind if I did a guest post on it?
    Thanks, Becky Jane

  28. Hi Becky Jane, I'm honored. Please feel free to do a guest post on Defining Moments. I'll be in touch.

  29. Thanks to all who shared their defining moments, from climbing The Great Wall of China… to inspirational flashes to meeting the Dalai Lama and welcoming babies to the world… to reading life changing books… to losing beloved brothers… to visiting Yellowstone Park… to more births of children, then grandchildren… to a long awaited affirmation from a mom… to a first superbike… to Elizabethtown… to moving from a self- designed and built home… to meeting a girl… to becoming a teacher… to everyday defining moments too numerous to name.

    Some sad… some joyful… some gleeful… some heartbreaking… some extraordinary… some more common, but wonderful nonetheless!
    Every comment uniquely memorable!

  30. I am going to love reading your blog. I can tell.

    thank you for stopping by mine.

    Love and Peace.


  31. Can't wait to read the rest! Love reading here! Also, I responded to your comment :)

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God


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