Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday - Things I have loved in this unfair and beautiful world

Another excellent piece of advice from the book I mentioned yesterday,
Survival Lessons, is this: Choose the Evidence. 
Write it down. Even if it's a few sentences. Because you won't remember.
You think you will never forget, but you will. Write down your life story
or a poem. Sometimes shorter is better. Make a list of what all you have 
loved in this unfair and beautiful world. Fireflies. Blue herons. Fresh coffee.
Manhattan as dusk. The man waiting in the other room. The woman
with dark eyes. 

So today, I'm gonna share a partial list of a few things and people and places I have loved in this life of mine. This list fits in with Thankful Thursday, right?

* Pistachios and cashews and pumpkin seeds
* the library
* journals and pens and watercolor paper
* candles and incense
* riding the bus and the subway, especially in foreign cities
* walking through airports
* wearing a backpack
* trips that require a passport
* seeing women with babies in slings and other close carriers
* redheads
* being pregnant and nursing my own babies
* vegan chocolate chip cookies from Karen's recipe
* every single place I have ever lived
* the movie "The English Patient"
* movie - Out of Africa
* movie - The Apostle
* movie - When a Man Loves a Woman
* cardio funk classes with Andre and his cardio crazies
* automatic dishwashers
* Eileen Fisher clothing, especially when it's on sale
* yoga
* long walks on warm days
* making love
* dancing
* car rides of all lengths
* wandering through museums, especially the Prado in Madrid
* scarves and mittens
* holding hands
* singing and listening to hymns
* teaching
* eating candy and other goodies with my Dad
* watching Karen's children being born
* pineapple: cutting it open and devouring it
* oatmeal with blueberries and mango
* green smoothies
* going to the zoo
* ancient cathedrals
* taking communion
* watching baptisms
* Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona, Roma, Firenze, Siena, Orvieto, Bologna
* those old records, The Bible in Living Sound, that I listened to as a child
* hot showers, clean hair, shaved legs
* swimming pools
* riding a bike on the beach at Hilton Head
* watching television
* Roger Federer
* Serena Williams
* Peyton Manning
* planning trips
* getting email and snail mail
* hearing good news
* caller ID on my cell phone and our house phone
* laughter, belly laughs
* babysitting
* learning new things
* being a student
* when people ask me how I'm doing and really want to know the answer
* solitude and silence and prayer
* Caravaggio's paintings
* recognizing and being able to identify paintings and their creators
* ripe bananas
* watching track and field meets and the memories of when I was a runner
* reading to my children
* bacon and sausage and pepperoni
* Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars
* Cherry Coke and Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper
* sweet tea, Southern style
* balsamic glaze from Trader Joe's
* their Sublime ice cream sandwiches
* Menchie's frozen yogurt
* going to the movies with Steve or Kristiana or Heather or Antonio
* knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides who also happen to be great friends
* Hindi movies
* almond butter and peanut butter
* daffodils and irises in the spring
* screened in porches
* bungalows on tree-lined streets
* swings, in playgrounds and backyards
* blue corn chips with mango salsa
* Anne Lamott
* Sue Monk Kidd
* Henri Nouwen
* Alice Walker
* Rebecca Walker
* Barbara Brown Taylor
* bookshelves filled to overflowing
* sleeping late on Saturday mornings
* staying in my pajamas all day
* lifting weights
* being remembered
* being loved
* being invited to speak or teach
* thank you notes, sending them and receiving them
* India Arie
* Kevin Hart
* Oprah's Super Soul Sunday show
* Huey Lewis and the News
* James Taylor
* Gavin Degraw
* outdoor concerts during the summer
* hugs and kisses
* olive oil and balsamic vinegar on salads
* veggie burgers, lemon drop martinis, and key lime pie from 131 Main
* running into friends unexpectedly
* making plans to meet up with friends
* paper towels and cloth napkins
* water with lemon
* synchronicity
* the way in which my pulse and my breathing slow down when I make lists like this.

Gratitude and love and contentment and joy seem to grow together in bunches.

Sometimes when I make these lists, I include the same things and people more than once. I guess I love those things and people a lot. The things that I am grateful for and the people and places I have loved come to mind frequently and repeatedly. I have so much to be grateful for. And I'm enormously grateful for that fact.

Sometimes when I think about my favorite things, I wonder if my tastes are too simple and ordinary. Then I remember - these are my pleasures and they certainly aren't too simple for me. And by no means are they ordinary.

Here's an example of why I say that: when I think about all the stories that have to coincide, all the details that have to come together perfectly, all the people who have to be at exactly the right place at the right time in order for key lime pie to be made at my favorite restaurant and brought to my table, I am moved nearly to tears.

Buy the land. Cultivate the land. Raise chickens and harvest their eggs. Grow the key limes. Grow the sugar. Grow the wheat to make the crust. Harvest it. Process it. Ship it. Distribute it. Measure it. Bake it. Cut it. Someplace else in the world, plates are made. So are forks and knives and ovens and baking tins. Someplace else, chefs are trained, recipes are created, and restaurants are established. Then somebody creates a menu, hires cooks and bakers, trains the servers, and makes sure that there are enough of all of the above to keep the pies coming. See what I mean?

Is there really such a thing as "a simple pleasure?"
Or is every moment, every meal, every encounter, every conversation
truly a series of inconceivable and inexplicable miracles?

As I ponder that final question, I'm gonna eat a few clementines.
Isn't fresh fruit simply fabulous?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Beautiful post. Yes....and AMEN!