I wrote this post several nights ago and decided to ponder it. This morning was a run with Louise and I have come back feeling refreshed and restored. Running is my safety valve, my stress release, my happy place. Thanks Louise for a great run!
I’m going to share this post with you because I am grateful for simple reminders to be grateful…
It’s a bit of a laugh for my children when they ask me what I’d like for my birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas. When they ask it’s usually followed up with AND don’t say shower gel or candles! Because that is what I always say.
I love shower gel and I love fragrant candles. I have responded this way since the children were little. Why? Because supermarket-variety shower gel or fragrant candles are only a few dollars and were within their little pocket-money budgets. They could buy me something that they knew I would like. Simple. And back then it was something that I didn’t buy for myself. Despite the small cost, shower gel was a luxury that my budget didn’t extend to.
And yet now that my children are at various stages of their working lives I still give the same response. What can I say? It brings back happy memories. Now they usually buy me three bottles for each gift giving occasion; periodically through the year I can reach into my bathroom cupboard and pull out a brand new bottle of shower gel. Especially now that all three are on the mainland of Australia and the only contact is through phones and social media, those bottles of shower gel mean the world to me. They make me smile and feel loved. Loved through the distance and through the years. A little family tradition to hold close.
Tonight I emptied a bottle of shower gel and so I reached into the cupboard and pulled out another one. This year for Christmas I received six bottles! All different, all beautifully scented. I chose one that was called anti-stress – it’s been a tough week, I need some anti-stress right now. Just putting my hand on it made me feel calmer. Softer in spirit. Gentler of heart. Without even flipping the lid I was feeling so much better.
As a teenager I would occasionally receive a gift box set of fragrance with a matching shower gel or talcum powder (does anyone even use powder anymore? That is apart from my Dad who still loves his Imperial Leather Talc). Shower gel was a luxury for everyone. But now? It’s like a staple. We all use it all the time – or that’s how it seems from where I am in Tasmania. In just a small space of years a luxury item has become an essential bathroom product.
And what about oranges? I was told a story about oranges by a lady about 10 years older than me who grew up in rural Tasmania. She was telling me about her childhood Christmases. With a large number of siblings, a stay-at-home Mum and a Dad who worked with his hands, money was short all the time. This lack of funds was acutely felt at Christmas time. This lady told me that for Christmas she and her brothers and sisters would usually find a few little things in their Christmas stockings but the thing they looked forward to the most was an orange. The shape, the smell, the sweet juiciness was a complete luxury to her.
A simple orange. A treasured and anticipated Christmas gift? If I wanted to I could eat 10 a day. When they aren’t in season in Australia they are imported. They are a staple. They aren’t a luxury item anymore.
It’s been a difficult week on many fronts. Tonight is a time to sit back and think about what really counts in life. I am filled with horror by so much evil that’s in the world. Evil that is the cruel, brutal, merciless reality for some who are forced to live it. It’s being blasted all over the TV screen. I’m filled with sadness as well as horror. I’ve witnessed unkindness up close too. Unkindness by words and actions designed to pull down and hurt.
Shower gel and oranges remind me to be grateful for what I have. To remember that it’s the simple things that make us the happiest. For family who want to buy gifts. For stories from the past that make me realise that so much of what I take for granted now was once a luxury. It’s good to sit back and be thankful.
…and a bit of running to conclude
I am grateful for so many things but particularly now I’m grateful that I can put one foot in front of the other in running steps. A simple movement that gives so much pleasure, restores a world-weary heart and helps me to find peace. It gives me time to think, time to cut away what’s false and concentrate on what is true. Shower gel and oranges? Strange things to restore a heart to being thankful, but it works for me.
Happy running 🙂