On the wooden shelf in my dining room sits a metal tin box that is painted blue with multi coloured flowers on it. Over 50 years ago I received this as a gift; it has held many treasures over the years.
During Advent, this box was put away as the shelf was covered with Santa Clauses and Christmas Candles. Last week, I got it out again and before putting it back up on the shelf I opened it to see what treasures it held.
There were ribbons, a couple of recipes, a beaded necklace, an old house key, and a small note pad. On the note pad I had written the title, ‘My Favorite Things: June 1976’ and the list starts with rainbows, dandelion wishes, cotton candy, going to the beach, puppy dogs, watermelon, hot chocolate, tobogganing, my kitten named Peanut and the cartoon Scooby Doo.
I vaguely remember making this list. It was after I had watched the movie The Sound of Music and heard Maria (played by Julie Andrews) singing the song, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things. She was comforting the van Trap children during a thunderstorm. Maria cheerfully sang, “I simply remember my favourite things. And then I don’t feel so bad.”
As I put the tin box back on the shelf, I thought that perhaps it was providence that made me look inside that box. This latest lock down has been very discouraging for so many; signs of the weariness can be found everywhere from those losing their temper to those simply refusing to follow the rules. My one friend shared that she witnessed three people ahead of her at the post office lose their temper with the postal worker who was simply trying to do her job. We all need to pause and remember our favourite things, so we don’t feel so bad.
As I sat down on a dining room chair, I began to list my favourite things wondering if they had changed in the last 45 years. In that moment my list consisted of fresh fallen show, birdsong, the smell of bread baking, puppy dogs, used bookstores, wool sweaters, lilac bushes in full bloom, the laughter of children, flowers that grow in sidewalk cracks, and sunsets over Lake Huron. Then two days later, while nodding off to sleep I again listed my 10 favourite things and the list had changed and even now, the list forming in my thoughts has changed yet again.
Since opening that tin box I have spent many moments redoing the list and it has been wonderful filling my thoughts with all that I find beautiful, noteworthy, and of value in the world. It sure is better than despairing over COVID-19, lamenting the terrible headlines, or worrying over what may happen in the future.
As James Allen writes in his book, As A Man Thinketh …
“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”
Our thoughts are powerful; they shape our days. Why not choose happy thoughts?
So, what are your top ten favourite things?
Rev. Heather McCarrel