Two Ways to Savor the Simple Things in Life

I asked a friend of mine about his plans for the summer and he replied with a list that read like this:

1 trip to Hungary (2 weeks)

1 trip fishing with the boys (1 week) 

4 weeks of summer camp in town (4 weeks) 

1 family reunion (1 weekend) 

I was tired just listening to his schedule and when he asked about my intentions for July and August, I shrugged and said, "Mostly small things with the kids... maybe a weekend away here or there."  

That's been our summer- a wonderful string of small things.  Compared to my buddy's itinerary, my list seems paltry but as I reflect on the kind of summer it's been, (I just can't help but measure things!)  I can't help but smile.  Our highlights have included:

  • sleeping in past 5am
  • watching four seasons of Lost with our 13 year old
  • writing 45 pages of my dissertation
  • going mountain biking with my 10 year old
  • taking my daughters out to the diner for a dad-daughter string of dates
  • going for long drives with Cary as our 3 year old fell asleep in his car seat
  • babysitting a neighborhood 5 year old and welcoming him into our family
  • painting the porch (just because)
  • spending extra time in morning prayer
  • getting in shape

An impressive list?  Probably not to the world.  But to me?  Absolutely priceless.  Savoring is like that- whether the rose is small or in full bloom- it still smells good.   

Two quotes come to mind when I think of this rose-smelling aspect of everyday life:

There is no better means of attainment to the spiritual life
Than by continually beginning again...  Saint Francis de Sales


Slow down and enjoy life.  It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.  Eddie Cantor

The real trick is this: how do you cultivate a habit of savoring life when you are always connected and online?  I suggest first to stop comparing yourself to others.  Again, compared to my friend's summer plans, mine look pathetic.  The thing is that I could care less since I live for an audience of One (God).   

Second, slow down.  Walk slower.  Eat slower.  Drive slower.  Each of these will help you to cultivate mindfulness and gradually unplug occasionally from technology.   

I know several very holy persons. Each is very adept with technology and each is very good at savoring the simple things of life.   

You really can have it both ways.