Thursday, March 26, 2015
An empty cup sits before me, a gift from friends…given to me when I was in Prague, Czech Republic, in October 2008, a small token of remembrance on my birthday while I was away from home. That cup is now my espresso cup, filled and drained daily…much to my mind’s content.
I keep learning that the greatest joy and contentment usually comes from the simple things in life. I think back to the really expensive gifts I’ve received or even the expensive things I’ve bought…and I struggle to bring them to mind; they’re all but forgotten. But those simple things that brought and bring such joy? They are there at the mere thought:
My espresso cup. A small fire on a cool, Fall evening. Sitting on a beach, shore or rocky edge overlooking a bay or the sea. The smell of cookies in the oven. Reading through “The Sermon on the Mount”…again. My old copies of Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton) and Mere Christianity (C.S.Lewis). My children laughing together as they tell a tale from days past. A nap sitting in my favorite chair. An old t-shirt that has seen three continents and stains from even more cuisines. The sight of a cross—wooden or brass, old or new--it matters not. Watching the wind bend and bow the trees on a summer afternoon. Sitting in the evening with my wife, both of us reading novels, her feet propped in my lap, my hand stretched over the back of the sofa…my hand just brushing her shoulder.
Imagining these, peace washes over me. Such simple things…things that money really cannot buy (even the books—so marked and annotated over the years…irreplaceable). Yet, we’re told to buy, to better, to bigger...and if we do, happiness awaits us. We already have the simple joys of life all around us, and each of us finds joy in unique moments, things and experiences. My espresso cup means nothing to you; your favorite around-the-house shoes do nothing for me. We each find our joy, our peace, where we find it. And that is as it should be.
Look around you. Think only a few moments. You, too, will see that the simple things of life, the lasting joys, are around you, in your memories—no matter where, they are still yours. Breathe deeply, count these simple blessings, enjoy…and allow the peace to wash over you again.