An Encouraging Word — Savoring the ordinary

… with heartfelt joy for abundance of every kind. Deuteronomy 28:47

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

I came across a quote the other day that I found so insightful and so true. “The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.” (Veronique Vienne)

I have written before about how much I enjoy “stay at home” vacations. What I like about them is the fact that I can really enjoy doing some very ordinary things like cooking for friends, sleeping in and even cleaning the house to a sparkle.

That quote inspired me to try to come up with a list of some of my favorite things — the ordinary things in which I find extraordinary pleasure. I would not only like to share my list, but challenge you to make your own.

My theory is that if we can identify the simple things that bring us great pleasure, we also have the ability to keep creating some of them so as to bring more pleasure into our otherwise ordinary lives. Things don’t have to be extraordinary to be special.

Here are a few of my favorite things. I hope I don’t embarrass myself by being so personal, but as a good friend of mine says all the time, “What is most personal, is most universal.”

Going to sleep in a freshly made bed with clean sheets in a cool quiet room with a thin blanket on rainy spring evening, knowing you don’t have to get up in the morning.

Walking for miles on a wide, deserted, white sand beach with beautiful, full, orchestral music coming through some high quality ear phones.

Fresh, warm croissants, with real butter and high quality apricot jam, along with a cup of freshly ground coffee on the terrace while backpacking in the mountains of Switzerland.

Hearing good news from the doctor that some horrible health scenario you have been obsessing about was nothing after all.

The smell of babies after their baths, fresh towels from the dryer, yeast bread baking and the air after a gentle spring rain.

Opening the door to a clean, quiet, empty house after coming home from an exceptionally stressful airplane trip.

Being contacted by someone you really liked from a long time ago and have been wondering how they are, but having no way of knowing where they are or how they are doing.

Losing a few pounds and getting into some pants that have been in the back of your closet for years because they were too tight.

Homemade pickles by Susan Johnson. My oldest sister’s iced tea when I was a seminarian. My mother’s German chocolate cake and country ham at Christmas time when I was a boy. The mushroom fumé at Equus restaurant.

Ralph Waldo Emerson has a point. “Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.” Sometimes we are so obsessed about what’s missing that we don’t take time to enjoy what we have.

Father J. Ronald Knott

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