Today, I went out and picked a load of blackberries. It was something I hadn’t done for ages and for the last week they had been ‘winking’ at me every time I passed the bushes in Burley House field. They were on the other side of the stream so I had to wear wellies to get at them, which added to the fun. As I filled my container, I found myself thinking how grateful I was for unexpected joys that we come across – the instances where in something really simple turns out to be something really good. Bacon sandwiches for breakfast, hearing your children killing themselves with laughter, smelling bonfire smoke or the last cut of the lawn, someone making you a cuppa, clean bedsheets, a good pint (insert your favourite alternative here!) after work, sharing a joke with a friend, intricate frost patterns, easy parking spaces…there are loads of little pleasures in life – feel free to drift off as you add your own to the list!
Our world can seem a pretty miserable place at times, with politics, wars, natural disasters, environmental changes looming over us. It is all too easy to find we are caught up in the fear, confusion and despair that surround us, and it can feel overwhelming. Whilst it is vital we acknowledge all the things that upset us, and do what we can where we can to make a difference, it is also important to pay attention to the good that we find day to day in our life. To pay attention to kindness or to beauty. To really notice and enjoy our friends and families, to find pleasure in the good things in life and to be thankful for all of them.
When Jesus tells us to trust God, he talks about not worrying too much about the days ahead, but to pay attention to the day in which we find ourselves. He describes the beauty of the simple things around him in the world to draw attention not only to how lovely they are, but how much God cares for them and for us. He says: –
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?
The good things in our world are not always strictly necessary – we don’t need beauty like we need water – but that’s what makes them blessings. There can only be a positive effect on our lives and the lives of those around us when we take time to notice the blessings and look for more ways to be grateful, more ways to be kind, more ways to be thankful and more ways to spread happiness. I hope you enjoy trying this out.
Now, back to my list…