Now that the last post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich is gone and the pumpkin pie is just a memory, I've been thinking back on an article I read recently. The piece was a continuation on last week's celebration of thankfulness. And it had the most valuable effect any piece of writing can offer. It made me think.
The author focused on being gratefully aware of the ordinary stuff of life. He pointed out that the routine things we take for granted are what we miss most when we lose them, even temporarily. When I recalled the article, I found myself reviewing the normal, everyday stuff of life that has come to mean so much to me.
I remember my recent foot surgery and the long weeks I spent with my leg in a cast. Not until I lost the use of my foot did I really appreciate the ordinary experience of pushing the grocery cart around the store or walking out to the mailbox.
I can recall the stress of watching the day dawn from the side of a sick child's hospital bed. And I remember the anxiety of driving through a blinding snowstorm, not knowing if I'd make it home safely.
In each situation, I found myself praying simply for a return to normal - a child sleeping softly in his bed or traveling home on a safe, dry roadway.
Ask any serviceman who was sent overseas and you'll learn what he missed most was the ordinary things - hamburgers, hot showers, fresh drinking water. Since these blessings are so common, we seldom give them a thought - until we lose them.
Years ago, our friends' home was consumed by a tragic fire. After the disaster, they never mentioned the big items they lost like their new dishwasher and the furniture they had recently bought. Instead, the losses that touched them most deeply were the humble, ordinary things of life - the family photo album and a favorite clock.
Learning to appreciate the ordinary stuff of life takes an awareness of the value of each moment. We get so caught up in planning for tomorrow, we forget to live for today.
With this in mind, I started a list of the ordinary treasures that highlight my own normal days. They include:
The scent of the breakfast coffee brewing
An unexpected card from a friend.
Sleeping in a freshly made bed.
Sunlight dancing on an expanse of water.
The sound of crickets on a soft summer night.
The smell of homemade bread baking.
My worn Bible with its years of notations.
Birdsongs from a nearby tree.
The perfume of fresh-cut grass.
Snuggling under our old quilt for an afternoon nap.
Holding my husband's strong, calloused hand.
A full moon.
Driving along a country road on a day of blue sky and towering clouds.
A mug of hot chocolate on a frosty morning.
Filling in the final word on a crossword puzzle.
Decorating the Christmas tree.
With Thanksgiving behind us and the magic of the blessed Christmas season before us, we're in the heart of one of the busiest times of the year. This is a period when it's easy to lose yourself in the preparations and planning for the days ahead and forget taking pleasure in the now. So I'm challenging you to begin your own list of the ordinary things you hold dear. Take a moment to realize how fortunate you are to enjoy these everyday treasures as you go about your busy life.
Just like me, I'm sure you'll come to realize that thanks-giving should continue every day of the year.