Those of us with compromised health, or those struggling with temporary setbacks in our wellbeing, when denied what I call ‘the big pleasures of life’, learn how to appreciate small, fleeting moments of meaning and joy.
One warm summer afternoon last week, I returned home from a church service feeling tired, rather dizzy and hot. Our eldest daughter and granddaughter were at our home, enjoying the sunshine and the garden. After saying hello I went to get a cold drink and have a lie down.
A short while later, I came out to find our toddler granddaughter playing with the washing pegs with my husband, taking great delight in repeatedly tipping them out of their bowl onto the ground. As I walked towards them, Layla turned round and noticed me, her face lit up with a big smile, she shouted ‘Nana’ and started running towards me, arms outstretched.
That simple moment made my day, as it would for many grandparents I am sure. But for me it was extra special. I have rather drawn a line through certain things on my ‘big pleasures of life’ list – like going on a Caribbean cruise, or taking a city break in Rome…and a lot more, much less extravagant pleasures. But I have learned to savour small moments and store them in a treasure trove of tiny precious stones which I keep in my mind and my heart, frequently turning them over and letting them cascade through my fingers. These jewels of time bring meaning and depth to my life.
I often see Layla, I had already said hello to her that day, and talked to her, but in that moment it was almost like she was recognizing me for the first time. For me, it was as if my relationship with her was being fixed in time and in eternity. Perhaps, without the restrictions and losses of my life with a chronic condition, I would miss the depth of such moments which can never be lost.