You know? I think we try much to hard to find things that will make us happy. One can spend a small fortune trying to remain “entertained” or to find activities that will amuse us. Some of my favorite things are very simple, very inexpensive and yet very meaningful.
Pets are Great Examples
My daughter has two cats, and my son has one cat. Cats can be persnickity. Yet, in spite of uppity airs and snooty aristoCATic attitude, they are perfectly content to play with a milk jug cap. I mean, when they would just as soon watch the toilet paper unroll from the dispenser… why BUY a cat toy? They’ll chase and elminate the stray housefly that mistakenly enters their domain, and will sit and stare at the shadow of an oak tree branch by the picture window on the living room carpet for hours!
Chloe has plenty of chew toys, but unfortunately her favorite “toy” is a water bottle. It has to be a supervised toy for she inevitably gets that cap off! Luckily, I found a cool toy at the outlet mall from “Big Dogs”. You actually put an old water bottle inside of the velcro “bone” and the dog can “snap, crackle and pop” to their heart’s content!
Pets do not need fancy toys or “wildlife” videos to be happy. A daily walk on a new trail, a tennis ball and a master with a “good arm”, or a milk cap for the cat… they enjoy simple pleasures.
People Can Learn
Thankfully, both of my kids (ages 18 and 19 now) enjoy simple things. They do not require trips to the pool or beach, hanging out at the mall or going to expensive, “run up the credit cards” types of vacations.
Chris, the youngest, loves to putter around the kitchen believe it or not. He actually enjoys cooking and baking. I can’t remember the last time I fixed him breakfast or lunch. He loves to talk on “VENT” with his buddies while surfing the internet.
Kyersten enjoys a good book. One of her favorite things to do is to sit around all day and read a whole stack of books that she checked out at the library. She loves murder mystery books and has been reading some Agatha Christie titles lately that I recall seeing on my mother’s bookshelves decades ago. A tall glass of milk and double-stuff Oreos completes what she believes is a “perfect day”.
My husband is a secret computer geek. One of his favorite things to do is to kick back in the recliner with his laptop and surf the net and read blogs about Macs with a Coke ZERO in hand. He has recently re-discovered Jiffy-Pop Popcorn. The man is NEVER in the kitchen except to refill his glass. To see him patiently shaking the Jiffy-Pop on the burner of the stove and grin while it starts to pop and inflate is enough to make the most disorganized shopper carefully remember to write “Jiffy-Pop” on the grocery list each week.
Thankfully, our family enjoys “day trip” vacations. We live in the DC area and frankly, I don’t know that we will ever see all there is to see here in this area! We go as far north as Amish Country in PA, and as far south as the Smithsonian museums and national monuments in DC. Westward, we always head for Harper’s Ferry. We never go east, although I’m not sure why! Regardless, our vacations are inexpensive yet enjoyable.
Me? Well this time of year my favorite thing to do is to sit on the porch swing and LISTEN. It’s so much fun hearing and identifying different noises. I just celebrated four years of “hearing again” with my Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant. This summer I am hearing insects, lawnmowers, birds and children in the park. If there is a breeze, I can hear the wind whistling through the spruce trees or “twanging” the wind chimes below our deck. If I’m enjoying a cup of green tea while “listening”, you can rest assured that I am a happy, contented “camper”!
If folks are honest with themselves, they too enjoy simple pleasures. Everyone has a favorite “something” that helps to rejuvenate and “feed their soul”. Unfortunately, many think they can only take time to enjoy simple pleasures during the one or two weeks they go on vacation each year – although in truth many people try to accomplish and “do” far to much while on vacation! The reality is that people can enjoy simple pleasures every single day. If you like to read, invest yourself in your own schedule and make sure you are curling up with a good book for twenty minutes before bed each evening. Enjoy the outdoors? Take your lunch break in a nearby park and be sure to leave your cell phone at your desk! On your days “off”, determine to lay claim to two hours where you just relax and enjoy doing something simple. So many of us have so many responsibilities on our days off, that we rarely feel refreshed and prepared for another work week.
Electronics and computers are “simple pleasure” thieves. I’ll be honest and admit that I’m pretty ga-ga over FaceBook. It’s been so much fun to touch base with people I rarely see anymore, and I’m one of those very strange creatures who really does care what your status message says! However, I’m trying to take a break from my computer for one day each week. By doing so, I can be sure to find the time in my schedule to do other things that have become simple pleasures for me.
God is OK with “simple”
Many people believe that if they are too do something important for God, it may mean that they must sell everything they own and become a missionary to the deepest part of Africa. What a shame that folks do not see this world the way God sees it. There are plenty of hurting people that are encouraged by one small act of kindness or thoughtful word. It takes us 5 minutes to make a difference in another person’s day. Today in the mail I received a “friendship quilt” opportunity to write a “love note” to a lady in our church just diagnosed with cancer. It will take me 10 minutes to complete a task that will bring her great joy in putting her “friendship quilt” together!
The person who empties and washes out the coffee pot each Sunday is just as important as the individual gifted with the ability to carry a tune on the praise team. The person who volunteers to watch the little ones in nursery are sure to receive a more hearty “well DONE” from God than another who piously makes sure all know they are a deacon. You are not able to meet once a week to pray with a group of committed people? Do you think God thinks any less of the earnest popcorn prayers murmured daily on behalf of others? If you’ve a heart to pray… DO IT. You don’t have to sign up for a special ministry to be used in this way!
God isn’t impressed nor constrained to use only those who are labeled “super Christians”. I propose that more Christians doing “little things” for Christ accomplish more in a lifetime than one person who points to one summer mission trip they took as a young adult – nevermind that they’ve never done another thing for God since then!
I’ll close this post out with a few of my favorite quotes:
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.
– Robert Brault
The art of contentment is the recognition that the most satisfying and the most
dependably refreshing experiences of life lie not in great things but in little. The
rarity of happiness among those who achieved much is evidence that achievement
is not in itself the assurance of a happy life. The great, like the humble, may have
to find their satisfaction in the same plain things.
– Edgar A. Collard, 1974
It’s the little moments that make life BIG.
The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal