We may remember the film “The Sound of Music” and the piece of music that listed many favourite things. Some of those items sung in the lyrics may also be our own favourite items – the packages tied up with string has a wonderful mental image as we like to receive packages for special occasions or from the post office. There are always, it seems, objects that we keep close which are beside us, near us. We could make our own lists; favourite objects, places, people, gifts.
Those things that we might list make our lives comfortable. We are used to seeing them in our lives. We turn and see photographs on a shelf alongside favourite books perhaps. Places we remember bring a sense of peace and well being for many. Last week I was in Halifax, Nova Scotia where I grew up, went to school and university. It is a familiar and comfortable place for me. it was comforting and satisfying to see familiar buildings and drive well known streets.
In the header this week you will see pen and paper. Some of the things I like are fountain pens and notebooks. While I have been able to move to a paperless world, I very much enjoy pens and notebooks. I prepare this blog in a notebook first, and then type a version into Evernote, prepare corrections and then copy-paste to the internet. I could work completely digitally but I still prefer my favourite things. I like to sit in a café with pen and paper and write surrounded by that background noise.
I read books on an eReader, but what I prefer is the feel of holding a book and turning the pages, and the satisfaction of seeing the reading progress visually, rather than simply a counter of “percentage read” or “267 of 771” pages. And selecting a book online can never compare with roaming a good used book store reading the names of works and authors on the spines of well read books.
In a world that seems to change and alter itself at a frenetic pace it is in a few favourite things that we might find comfort and stability. The shift from one’s home to a seniors complex can be traumatic but also mitigated by the transposing of favourite objects. Pictures and objets d’arts, small pieces of memory laid about to offer comfort and familiarity.
If what brings comfort is people that we know, then we need always to be thankful for them, and let then know we love and appreciate them. I wrote in a previous blog post about gratitude. And indeed gratitude is often missed in western society where we take it for granted that the hospitals are well stocked, the roads are paved, that we can get what we need when we need it at a reasonable price. It is only when it is not available, or we are displaced, that we realise what we have by feeling its absence. It may be worth requiring all students in their final year of studies to spend six months to a year in a country where the average wage is less than a dollar per day. We can then imagine how much more what we have would be appreciated and changes to the world for the better could be gained.
So we need to be grateful always for the things we have, and the people we appreciate in our lives around us. And allow our favourite things to be inspiration and comfort…with a great deal of gratitude.