Disclaimer: If you are tired of my musings on the glories of life, this post is not for you. While I do have periods of deep sadness and depression, those are my long periods of silence, for why should I drag my readers into the abyss with me? Recently, however, I have been in the frequent company of some whose conversation is non-stop complaining about one thing and another. With all due respect to them, I have to take a few minutes to reflect on the good things in life so that I can continue to be the friend they need without descending into my own despair.
When I think of how BIG my world is, I am overwhelmed with happiness! There are so many things to make the heart swell, and I am filled with gratitude for the magnificence of Creation, including the contributions of humanity to its beauty. All of these things infuse my writing, and whatever is good about it is directly because of them.
While travel is a great way to see spectacular scenery, it is not necessary to do so for your world to be a very big place. In fact, travel is best when it enhances a life-view already open to experience and wonder. May I share my big world with you from here as we are both sitting in our fixed place in space? Will you share yours with me? Please?
Music! Oh, dear God, how my heart soars when I close my eyes and let the sound wash over me! What type of music? Any type.”Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel. “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw. “True Colors” by Cindy Lauper. Javert’s “Stars” from Les Mis. “Blue” and “Crazy,” the Leann Rimes versions from her first album. “Circle of Life” from Disney’s Lion King and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocohontas. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The list goes on and on. Does music affect you that way?
Art! What a miracle that someone can start with a blank canvas and create Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid,” or Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. How did Michelangelo bring “David” and the “Pieta” out of solid chunks of marble? Have you seen Chagall’s stained glass windows? You don’t have to go there–just Google them. Unbelievable. Does art move you like it does me?
Books! Everyone has their favorite authors for their own very personal reasons. When I need to be transported, I grab A Christmas Carol or Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice or Outlander or Hitchhiker’s Guide or the Bible. My tastes are pretty eclectic; it just depends on my mood.
Movies! I watch them over and over. My current obsessions are the Greatest Showman and Christopher Robin, but we have hundreds of DVD’s, not to mention an endless supply of choices on cable. I always stop changing channels for The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or The Princess Bride or Waitress or Twister or The Wizard of Oz. What stops your channel surfing?
Gardening! A perfect rose always makes me stop, whether it’s the Rose Lady down the street or, believe it or not, in the parking lot at my mother’s nursing home. Naturalized daffodils. Well-established azaleas. My unruly bed of Lenten rose. They are green and pink! Green and pink flowers! Remarkable.
Food! Ahhh! Food is an exercise in ecstasy. Home made foods like spaghetti or beefaroni. Good fast food like a Wendy’s hamburger or McDonald’s fries. Holiday food like turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie. Fine restaurant food like a perfectly cooked steak so tender that the knife slides through it like butter. Fresh baked bread. Birthday cake heavy-laden with butter cream frosting. Great southern food like sweet potato casserole and chess pie. (If you have never heard of it, look it up. It is an experience not to be missed.) Salad with bacon and blue cheese crumbles topped with blue cheese dressing. Is your mouth-watering? What does it for you?
Animals! What in the world is going on in the mind of our dog? When he cocks his head, you know he has recognized a word of human speech and is associating it with something he knows. Look out the window and watch the squirrels. They are so busy all the time and run up and down trees as easily as I walk to the mailbox. What’s that like? What does it feel like to be that solitary hawk over my head, comfortable at a height that makes me dizzy and with no net because falling is not a consideration?
Nature! Not just animals but landscapes of unimaginable magnificence. The Chattahoochee River. Amacoloa Falls. The Smoky Mountains. The shells of Sanibel. The waves of the Atlantic. The Ring of Kerry. The Dolomites. The Alps. If you can’t go there in person, Google any place that’s on your mind. I’m sure you have seen places that made your heart swell, even if it’s in your backyard. Please share them with me.
Family! Oh my God! How I love my family! My boys. My husband. My mother and sister. My mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. My aunt, Barbara, and all of my cousins. Whether your family is big or small, having someone you care about that much can put everything else in perspective.
Friends! Cathy who I see often and Bonnie and Chris who I don’t. The camaraderie of work friends. My travel buddies, Helen, Lisa, and Sheila. People who remain precious to me though our lives have diverged. Patty and Holly. Barbara. Jim Bob. Claudia. Remarkable souls like Mary Marvella and Betty Golden. So many others. They have so enriched my life that I have been changed forever by knowing them.
God! Above all else God. He has so infused creation with love that everything he has made is beautiful, even if we do not always perceive that beauty. Made in his image, we are also creators and can create works of magnificence on our own to enhance the wonder that already was. How could this all not have been the intent of an intelligent mind when the pieces fit together so perfectly?
“Stop it! Stop it!” you say. You get the point. Your world is a very BIG place even if you never travel more than a few miles from your house. This has been my long way of saying “Don’t miss it.” It will ease your stress to realize how small a part all that angst plays in your life.
I’m not preachin’. I’m just sayin’.