The other day I went to visit a dear old (or rather, long-term) friend. She is retired and has some time on her hands. Together, we lamented the fact that nobody in our part of the world ever gets together anymore, just for a simple coffee morning or anything at all, really, unless it is a properly scheduled family event. It has to be said that "our part of the world" is populated by very busy women in the sandwich generation, with large families and endless commitments. Most of them are working outside the home - as am I. Nobody has time to just relax quietly for an hour with a friend or two. "It's such a shame," we said to each other.
That simple, unpretentious weekday socializing of a woman dropping by her friends in the neighborhood for a coffee or a lemonade, and a heart-to-heart or just some regular gabbing, seems to have all but vanished. Because it did exist once, didn't it? (Said in a trembling voice.) Maybe it still exists in smaller towns, where life goes at a humane - human - pace? I used to have it once, I think, and I miss it! Nostalgia! Must make more lemonade! I want my Rosebud... no, sorry, I'm rambling.
Then we went on to establish how it really doesn't take that much to get a little extra pleasure out of life. She reminded me of that time we had been sitting on her porch with our morning tea in the pretty cups, instead of the ordinary mugs. Ten years later, the image is still cherished in her memory! It has been said before, by many others, but that doesn't make it any less true originating from my keyboard: We must use the pretty cups more often!
Perhaps the pretty cups shouldn't be used every day, because I do believe in saving certain things for "special occasions" for otherwise, how could any occasion be marked as special? Then every day would again be the same, which is ultimately no good. We all know that unlimited ice cream every single day will erode the magic for even the most fanatic Häagen-Dasz devotee. Nevertheless, we should make more weekday moments count, and maybe we should make more occasions special too. Life is too short and too precious to be wasted on ordinary mugs.
|My collection of Pretty Cups -|
getting ready for the good times!
And here we are really touching on one of the main themes of this blog – the gilding of the everyday. Those little pretty moments that remain in our memories. The beauty in the midst of the mundane.
Of course, one might argue that pretty cups – or any other equivalent in the material world – are largely irrelevant; that life is about higher, spiritual values. To that I would respond that it is not a question of either/or; we should aim to elevate our lives both in the spiritual and the material realms, and that if a bit of material beauty can bring some fleeting joy to your life – then it is worthwhile. And in the case of my friend above, that little spot of joy wasn’t fleeting at all! Perhaps I should stress, though, that I am speaking of beauty here – however that may look in the beholder’s eye – not of material accumulation for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses.
In fact, I’m not endorsing materialism at all – this is about the soul. Working with people, as I do, I frequently see how a little beauty can affect the spirit. One instance that will always stand out in my memory is the day I came to work dressed all in black, but with one big, blowsy, hot pink silk rose pinned to my scarf. An elderly client twinkled at me and said: “You will get your reward in Heaven for that rose – because it makes us smile!”
Therefore, let us guard and cherish the little things we can do to bring more color to an average Wednesday. Take the time to relax with a friend – if just for a half hour. Make your own lemonade from live lemons. Pin a rose to your scarf. Don’t routinely reach for the ordinary mugs – but let the pretty cups come out to play!
Regards from Rosebud!