With the kids at home sick today we decided to stay in our jammies and watch The Sound Of Music. Truthfully it is one of my husband’s favorite movies that only in time has come to grow on me.
I was moved today specifically by the scene in where a loud thunder storm rolls in on Maria’s first night at the Von Trapp home. The children have been terribly rude and careless with Maria’s feelings, yet she remained unwaveringly kind and compassionate towards them. So much so, that although the children have hardly just met her, they all come running to Maria’s room to be comforted through the storm.
I have watched this scene several times before, however today I was struck with the parallels of this story to that of our own with Jesus Christ. Like Maria, he is kind and patient. We don’t have to earn his love and concern for us. From the moment we are born, no matter how we misbehave or push him away, he remains loving and immediately willing to comfort us in our times of need. Always there. Always gentle. Always with an open heart and open arms.
Maria then proceeds to do something I thought might be particularly beneficial for all of us this New Year. She sings a song to teach the children how when we are feeling sad, scared or even mad, that a helpful thing to do is remind ourselves of the things that bring a smile. The things that when remembered, always give us hope. Or more specifically, our favorite things…. You will have to hum the tune : )
Rain-drops on ros-es and whis-kers on kit-tens, Bright cop-per ket-tles and warm wool-en mit-tens….
It is arguably one of the most iconic songs of the entire movie and the message couldn’t be more fitting on this day of the year where traditionally our focus gets turned to declaring what must get done. It’s a message of grounding ourselves in reality. To not just use this time of year to write a list of things we hope to do, achieve or become, but to admit right from the start that bad days are inevitable and the loss of momentum to reach our goals can plague even the best of us. By all means, dream your dreams and reach for your stars. This is such important work. But keep closest to your heart what you will turn to on the days where you find the dreams fading or the strength dissipating. The days when those stars feel out of reach or not meant for you. For it is what we do in these moments that ensures our success.
So why not create our own list of favorite things? A list of things that spur us on, always make us smile and remind us what we are grateful for. Things that return our gaze to The One who provides immediate comfort amidst any circumstance and is the provider of our true strength.
My list grew quite long but it starts something like this…
Hor-ses in mead-ows and kids loud-ly laugh-ing, Ba-bies in man-gers and ang-els re-joic-ing….. (And then I accepted my list would not be written to that lovely tune still stuck in my head!)…..
Fall colors against a blue sky. Hot tea, a good book and a warm blanket (preferably all at the same time). My family, that despite my many imperfections, love me anyways. My dog, who loves me without words or deeds and there is something so special in that. The dear friends who have tirelessly cheered me on and given me the gentle pushes I need to keep stepping into this ministry, no matter how small or long it takes to grow. My God, who made me and has good plans for me. Plans that although sometimes seem hidden are there none the less. And His word he left for me. One gigantic book of insight and advice to keep me on track and make me far wiser than I am. And His spirit within me, ensuring that no matter how dark it gets, I can find my way home.
As you can see, some of my favorite things are quite simple while others are more deep. The purpose of some is simply to change the expression on my face, to get me out of bed or press publish on this post. While others take me where my true progress lives, directly to my knees. The point to ponder, is that our goals do not propel us forward for long. It isn’t our strengths that in the end get us to the finish line. It is all the things we put in place to pick us up when we fall that truly carry us to the places where we were meant to be.
Oh I have my list of resolutions too but it will hang right beside this one. A reminder of what’s most important. Not where I am going or how fast I get there, but to whom I am leaning on as I try.
So I leave you with this today friends. You are encouraged to consider… what are your favorite things? Maybe you will find like me, the pleasant realization of just how long your list of wonderful things really is. Especially compared to the list of things you still want to achieve. And that right there, is another thing to smile about : )