They way the smallest detail can spark a whole flood of thoughts and ideas and realizations. Someone says one sentence, and maybe it is something you have already heard a million times, but the way they say it this time, or the place you are standing, or the time in your life, or any number of little factors suddenly change the whole outlook you have on that one little thing. Maybe you read a book that you have read a million times and a sentence strikes you that has never meant anything before, but you are a new person now and new things catch your eye and your mind. God must love curiosity to give us minds that do such curious things.
Learning that you are capable of at least trying new things. I can’t dance. I don’t say that as a cop out or to be modest, I just happen to have about as much coordination while dancing as a giraffe who is trying to drink out of a stream. My sister is the dancer in the family; she knows how to make her limbs move at the same time and still look graceful. However, I am in a musical which involves choreography. Am I great at it? Eh. Am I having buckets of fun pretending I know what I’m doing? You betcha!
Taking time out of your regular schedule to make someone feel at home. It is so easy to let everything pile up until your “daily routine” is just you running around from one thing to the next and hoping that you don’t forget anything in the meantime. Then, when you have a visitor or just want to make someone else feel comfortable and at home, you have no choice but to put yourself there with them. Life slows down and you get a chance not only to catch your breath, but also to spend time with the people you love.
That loopy mood where everything is right with the world and you are just brimming with mirth and you will laugh at the slightest thing or smile the biggest smile from the smallest bit of happiness and the world is its own shade of gold.
Road-trip singing. There is something about hopping in a car and going that inspires the best kind of belt-into-the-wind-until-you-can’t-breath-but-you-keep-singing-anyway-because-the-music-has-become-your-ambrosia singing. The thrill of the journey makes it impossible to keep from moving and shouting at the vast world and loving the way it echoes back at you by blowing wind through your hair and shining the sun on your face.
Making different worlds meet. For the first nearly eighteen years of my life I more or less stayed in the same environment all the time. Same people, same city, same general neighborhood even. I love my family and my friends from home and I love the little social world I have there. And then I moved three and a half hours away from home and created an entirely new little social bubble. New friends, new places, new everything. I love school and all of the people that I am so privileged to have here. But there is this complete rift between my life at home and my life here. Everyone I love does not fit into one big happy group anymore. So it is really fun for me when I get to introduce people and make connections both ways between those two little worlds and grow little bridges between my two different worlds.
Doing all the touristy stuff in your own home. Okay, so it’s cheesy and tourists are generally stereotyped as annoying and inconsiderate little buggers. Don’t be that. But do explore where you live. The tourist destinations may be just as cool as everyone gushes or they might not, but it is fun to see the sights anyway. That whole staycation campaign a few years ago? Not actually a bad idea. You never know what adventures await you.
The first day of the year when it is finally warm enough to not wear a coat and not be miserable. Hey, it may only be forty-five degrees but that is thirty warmer than it has been in a good long while and that means it is time to bust open the windows, take a stroll around a park, let your body thaw out for once without any blankets. It feels like a fresh start, and those are always good things.
Not caring what anyone thinks and just having fun. Going outside to blow bubbles, carrying a gigantic stuffed teddy bear around town with you, the usual. Hey, we got a free personal tour of a research site because of it so you never know what might happen if you just go for it.
Seeing the world from an unusual viewpoint. My friend’s dad is an aviator and he took us flying today. As the tiny plane took off, the sun was just beginning to set. We watched out the window as rolling hills passed by like water and a river snaked back and forth reflecting every vibrant hue of the sky like a winding ribbon settled across the waves. A sunset is always beautiful, but from that view is more than breathtaking.
Uncontainably joyful worship. When you have no choice but to pour out your heart because God is so good and you need nothing else. As sinful human beings, sometimes we forget how much joy there is in our God. He is the epitome of joy and we should worship him with joy.
Sharing adventures. I love to go on adventures. Doesn’t really matter what it is, I just want to go and discover. However, I begrudgingly admit that I cannot do everything. And I also admit that not every adventure would be the adventure for me. That is why I love when other people go places and then tell me all about it. It is so fun to hear other people’s personalities shine through their stories and their choices and activities. Plus, I get to second-hand experience whatever magical happenings they tell me about.
Companionship. I’m so glad God gave us other humans and the wish and ability to bond with them. Because my friends are pretty neat.
Stargazing. There is a lot going on in the night sky. I have lived in a city my whole life, so going out into the country and seeing the darkness spangled not just with big bright stars but miniscule little bits of glitter and different colors and motion. There is so much out there and yet this tiny little ball that we call earth is still spinning amidst it all. And we get to be here to witness it. How tremendous is that?
Group Bible studies. God gave us the church for a reason, and a pretty good one at that. We need encouragement and examples and support in our daily lives as well as our faith walks and the church builds both. Coming together with other believers to study the Word of God just leaves me feeling full, both as a person and as a believer in Christ. Not the kind of full that happens after Thanksgiving, but the contented kind. The knowledge that there are others out there to look at the Bible with in order to grow closer to each other and to our savior is a beautifully satisfying thing.
Getting out of bed in the morning. Have you ever marveled at what a blessing it is to swing your legs over the side of the bed, put your feet on the floor, and start the day? It feels like such a grueling thing in the moment, to drag oneself out of the comforts of sleep and into the unknown of the day, but it is a gift to be able to move and work and simply be alive.
Touching history. This evening I had the wonderful experience of eating dinner at one of my professor’s house. It was an absolutely gorgeous place and I told her that I plan on stealing it along with her cat. But that’s neither here nor there. Her house was full of history. It was built in the early 1920s and they still had many of the original floors and layout on the inside. The first bit of really cool history I encountered was when she showed us “the grotto”. When they added on the kitchen to the house, they found the original cistern in pristine condition, so what did they do? Naturally they turned it into a room. There were steps leading down into it and it was furnished with a low table and cushions strewn around the edges. It might have seemed strange at first to use a cistern as a casual room in the house, but it was really quite charming. Then, when we went back upstairs, our host began to talk about her long, rustic, wooden dining room table that seemed to have come straight off of HGTV. Turns out this table has been around long since Good Housekeeping magazine because it was made in the late 1700s. That table was over three-hundred years old! Her husband found it in France and somehow shipped it back to be just one crucial element of that historical little place.
Sarcastically watching TV with a group of friends. It is one thing to watch a movie or a television program with friends where everyone is silent and focused on the screen. It is a whole new situation when you bring in the sass. One person makes a remark, someone else quips back and before you know it the entire thing has turned into a bit of a peanut gallery. And it is such good fun.
Going to the opera. Who knew, right? I went to the opera La Boheme this evening and had such a hoot! It was a wonderful show and I definitely cried at the end, not going to lie. I was expecting to come out of it feeling cultured but not super impressed. It was such a pleasant surprise to find that I genuinely like opera. At least, I really enjoyed that one and that is what a good night of theatre usually consists of.
Taking the time and effort to make dinner even if theoretically you don’t have to. As much as I love cooking, I hardly ever do at college because I can just walk over to the caf and get already prepared food. When I do take the time to sit down and maybe have a family style home-made dinner, my tummy is all the happier for the effort.
Meaningful messages from unexpected people. A little text of appreciation or a person patting you on the back and telling you that they hope your day gets better. It may not be the first person you thought you wanted to hear it from, but it brightens your day nonetheless.
Watching other people’s faces when they hear good news. First there is a spark in their eyes, then their eyebrows raise, then a little smile starts at the corners of their lips until it blossoms into a full-blown unstoppable portal of joy radiating out of their face. Then they look up and see you and that joy portal hits you full blast and you can’t help but smile too.
The kind of satisfied tired that comes from a full day’s work. You are exhausted, every bone in your body hurts and you know your muscles will tomorrow. But you still fall into bed with a smile on your face because today was a day of progress.
The fact that gravel crunches. How creative do you think God had to be to say “Hmm, I’m going to make little itty bitty teeny tiny rocks and just put loads of them around the ground. Then, whenever something goes over them, they are going to rub together and make a crunchy noise. Doesn’t matter what substance they are on or if they are wet or dry or whatever, they are going to crunch.” I certainly wouldn’t have thought of that had I been creating the universe, but then again there is probably a pretty darn good reason why God created the universe and not me.
The Tenebrae at a Good Friday service. Good Friday is one of the most important parts of Christianity. That and Easter Sunday, but if you don’t have either one the other has no significance. So, in traditional Good Friday services, there are a lot of really ceremonial things that happen like extinguishing candles as the stages of the crucifixion are read, taking the Christ candle off of the altar and out of the church without extinguishing it, and the tenebrae. It is the loud sound at the end of the service when everything else is dark and silent that signifies Jesus’ death and the earthquakes and tearing of the curtain that came with it. I have seen that sound done in numerous different ways: slamming of a Bible, a chorus of timpani, nails being driven into a cross. It doesn’t matter what makes the noise, but let me tell you it makes your heart jump. You can’t help but feel guilty and stained and utterly somber. But the beauty is that the tenebrae, the death, that horrible tomb is not the final say. It may be where Friday ends, but there is a sun (or perhaps a Son?) waiting to burst over the horizon in victory.
Having my sister come to stay with me. One of the things I miss most about home is having my sister in the same vicinity as me more or less at all times. If something happens in here life, I don’t instantly know about it anymore. I can’t spend three hours everyday hanging off of her like a koala bear. I don’t get to go cheer her on at every performance or competition she ever has, make obscure references at her that I know she will return, pester her about her love life, etc. But, I did find this weekend that there is a small little compensation for all of the time I don’t get to be with her. And that is when she comes to stay with me. Because then I get to show her my little home here and introduce everyone I know to a big piece of my home home. Plus we get to sort of pretend to be adults, and by that I mean make snacky food and watch multiple episodes of the Great British Bake Off. But I loved just having the time with her most of all.
The way singing is always louder on Easter. I know there are more people there and that is honestly probably one of the biggest reasons, but there is something of God in the volume anyway. C. S. Lewis speculated that heaven is only music and silence and I can easily imagine just that. Either awe-filled reverent silence or a boisterous symphony crescendoeing all around at the victory of Christ. Kind of like a church on Easter Sunday. He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Enamel. We can eat stuff that probably should hurt our teeth but we enjoy them because God gave us protection to do that. And food is pretty neat so, that’s a good thing.
Only having one tab open on the computer. Single-tasking is a rare and beautiful occurrence in this tech-soaked, action-packed age. I actually feel the stress leaking away from me when I have everything accomplished down to the point where I can just focus on one single thing. Take a deep breath and focus. You got nothing else on your plate.
Having a meal with different people than usual. Meals are the perfect place to bond and you can always learn new things about new people. Food and friends and laughter and all of that goes together just as perfectly as can be.
When someone forces you to get you life together. Sometimes, you just don’t. Want. To. Do. Anything. It is a struggle to pull back the covers and hop out of bed and from there it is an even bigger struggle to do anything except watch Netflix. So when someone comes and tells you to get off your lazy bum and do what needs to get done, it is such a relief. Their prodding eventually gets the wheels spinning again and soon you will be back on your feet.