Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beauty in the Small

When I was little, candles came in two forms. Once a year, I would have chocolate cake topped with tiny little stick-thin pastel birthday candles. These were fun and festive and forever blowing out more than staying lit. During holiday dinners, my mom often adorned the table with two rather large scentless red tapers. I believe she used the same two tapers at various meals over the eighteen years I lived at home. Growing up, I saw candles as functional, fun, but with a brief lifespan and not of much use to the soul. Oh, the joy a candle brings me now. I love the mood set by a gentle flame, a slight whiff of vanilla or sage or orange clove. I love the way my heart smiles and my troubles disappear as I dim the lights and set the mood.

So many times I feel such an indescribable gratitude for the large that I neglect the small. I love my family. We are silly and sarcastic and just a good time. My daughter’s friends once compared us to a television sitcom. My neighbor said watching us get ready to go anywhere was like watching a Chinese fire drill. And I love my friends. I have a couple I could tell anything. Any. Thing. I have many more who serve my various moods. I have writer friends and neighbor friends and lunch friends and Facebook friends. I have peripheral friends who are more acquaintances than anything, but who contribute to my life in a way I would sorely miss if they should disappear from it. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had in my life, the opportunity for an education and the opportunity to teach and to write. I am thankful for my home and for the fact that I never have to worry about feeding my children or keeping them warm. I am thankful for those in my life who have encouraged me in the direction that I have gone.

But if I stop and breathe and look around, there is so much beauty in the small.

I am thankful for the things that surround me as I sit writing this. I am thankful, mostly, that I am capable of writing this, that I can read and can spell and can put down word after word in an engaging sort of manner. I am enjoying a bit of chocolate and a nice glass of wine. I am also enjoying in a different way the fluffiness of my little white dog as he sits breathing contentedly beside me. Soothing tunes play in the background and I catch an occasional whiff of my favorite scent. I wear it always. It brings me a quiet kind of joy. I absolutely love the funky earrings I have in right now. They’re not by any local artist as are some of my others, but they are interesting and fun nonetheless. I’d like to thank Lancome for its Amande Sucree, my favorite shade of lipstick. It makes me happy. I notice the wedding ring on my left hand, the sign of twenty-five years with a man who has more patience than that of Job. I’m not sure I’d be able to stay married to myself that long. The lights are low, the candles burning. My yin and my yang are in a wonderful balance right now.

If I look a little further out from where I sit, I can see the stacks of paperbacks, the pictures of my kids, the earthy red richness of the wood floors. There’s the wooden rocker, the first piece of furniture I bought when I found out I was pregnant. Whatever path my husband and I chose in our parenting, I was certain that this baby would be held and rocked and nurtured and sung soothing lullabies in hushed tones. I am thankful for the red brick fireplace on a Michigan winter evening. There’s something about a fire, fuzzy slippers, and a mug of hot cocoa that warms the soul. I know it sounds weird, but there’s a Mylar dinosaur balloon hovering near the ceiling over in the corner. Ortlieb child number three just celebrated birthday number eighteen. My oldest had a friend who died in a tragic car accident in high school. This slowly deflating T-rex is a reminder of how very fortunate I am to have my “babies” with me each and every day. Have I mentioned the rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that’s playing on my laptop right now?

Yes, I am thankful for the large in my life. But I am so loving the beauty in the small.

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