My husband and I went to a Broadway performance of The Sound of Music when it was in town a couple of weeks ago. The show was outstanding—every actor, superb; every song, extraordinary—and the recognizable tunes triggered snippets of memories from the first time I’d seen the play many, many years ago. I don’t remember how I responded to it back then. As a grade schooler on a field trip to The Dakota Stage, I was probably just happy to be out of the classroom for the afternoon.
But this time, as an adult, as a writer, as a woman struggling to follow God’s will and understand love and find her place in this great, big world, I appreciated every aspect of the story. However, the thing that struck me most, the thing I didn’t pay attention to the first time I saw the production or any time since, was the lesson of gratitude inherent in one of the musical’s most famous songs.
To me, My Favorite Things, has always been just that: A list of Maria’s favorite things. I could blame my lack of awareness on my literal-minded tendencies, but I think the main reason the song’s greater meaning had been lost on me until now was because of my natural inclination toward negativity. I may speak and write and encourage positivity, but looking at the bright side of things does not come easily to me. I have to work at it. I have to stay vigilant, paying attention to my mindset and reminding myself often of life’s many blessings.
So that night, as I listened to a tremendously gifted singer belt out a beautiful rendition of this song, that’s exactly what I did. I reminded myself. In my head (and in no particular order), I began making a list of my own favorite things:
- Christmas trees
- Ice cream
- My husband’s deep, belly laugh when watching classic cartoons
- Walking through crunchy, fallen leaves
- Open windows
- Spring air, heavy with the scent of lilacs
- Long conversations with good friends
As the list went on and on, I realized how much joy I felt in my heart simply by thinking of these things. I realized what an amazing gift that is. That not only did God give us all these wonderful blessings to enjoy, but he gave us powerful minds full of detailed memories so we can delight in our favorite things even when we aren’t in the midst of them.
What are some of your favorite things? Make a list, add to it often, and take a look at it daily, so the next time the dog bites or the bee stings, maybe you won’t feel so bad.