What brings life and joy into your life? Is it the fresh air of the morning, the smell of fresh flowers, the sound of a train in the distance, or the laughter of small children? What memories do you want to create or have you created that give you a boost? Who taught them to you? What people do you turn to for advice and comfort? Who impressed upon you favorable habits and a conviction to live a wholesome lifestyle?
I recall a few habits my dad had developed that I have latched onto over my lifetime. One was walking into a church on Sunday morning and stopping to Bless himself. I asked him why he hesitated there? He told me he would stop to thank God for another week. It is important that we all find ways to be reflective and grateful. Gratitude is a formula for growth.
Another thing he’d do is step out onto a small porch landing outside our kitchen door and lean there for fresh air. I think it was to appreciate the apple tree he loved so much and his way of unwinding from stress. We did not have air conditioning and summer days could be tiring after driving home his hour from the City of Chicago. He had Polio as a child and his leg was tired after a day of walking and standing. He’d forge ahead with cutting the grass or working hard and find a shower afterwards as a big reward. Come to the water; drink it and be refreshed by it!
One of my favorite things I have adapted from this is stepping outside with our dog each morning. The sound of the birds tweeting, the garbage trucks coming down our streets, or the kids waiting for the school bus set the stage for the next day. It’s part of my morning ritual. Do you have such a ritual?
Dad loved listening to sports on the radio in the garage. He was always out there messing around with a project fixing something. I have adapted a similar routine in our Laundry room. It is a bright room facing the South and I also have a radio there. It’s fun to iron, sew, and just do small projects in there without any pressure. In lieu of sports, my preference is listening to music that I can sing along with or enjoy, or even audio CD’s of books. That spirit of recreating and renovating things is still stimulating for me. It is nice to take a torn garment and repair it in lieu of buying new. Same with refinishing furniture or reusing an old pot for flowers. It is just fun and so rewarding to repurpose items.
Finally, I recall my dad’s love for reading and learning. It rubbed off well on me. I am a lifelong learner; always seeking out new and different things. He’d clip articles from the newspaper for reference. When he died, I found a book that without a cover; it was worn out from use. It was an old bible with things tucked between the pages. Surprisingly I saw he had often told me things from it, but did not realize it as a child.
He knew well that we weren’t designed to go it alone in this world. We need companions, friends, and family to keep us on task and for safety. He was insightful and empathetic for other people. I’d like to ask him all kinds of things now, but of course that is impossible. It is possible to share and connect with other people though and that is something we are all called to do.
Seeking good role models is key to finding mini miracles and enjoying life fully. My best for a wonderful and productive day.