- to give flavor to : season
- a : to have experience of : taste b: to taste or smell with pleasure : relish c: to delight in: enjoy <savoring the moment>
Certainly, we all know what it is to savor a good meal. You don’t want it to end. You chew that last morsel of a good steak slowly, enjoying every last bit of it. Or you eat your pie slowly, enjoying the experience and the taste to the very end. I’ve been thinking about life in terms of savoring and noticing and being grateful for the moments, the burst of flavor. Not blazing by them without noticing, but savoring what there is to savor.
I don’t want to savor everything, mind you. Some things I’d be just as happy to blow right by without noticing, but those other moments – reading a story on the couch to a kid who just wants to snuggle with you. Enjoying the look in Grandpa’s eye when he recognizes you and is delighted to see you (even if he can’t remember your name anymore). Curling up in a fuzzy blanket to read on a Sunday afternoon. The beautiful patterns of stain glass with the sun shining through. The quiet stillness of an empty church, just you and Jesus. That time the puppy flipped over while jumping for her ball, sending you into peals of uncontrollable laughter. Drinking a hot cup of coffee in your PJs while watching the snow slowly fall from the sky. Those (and so many more) are the kind of moments I want to savor, live and taste fully, and to be grateful for the beauty in each one.
Lots of articles talked about the concept of gezellig, the way people enjoy winter in the Netherlands. I’m a loooonnnngggggg way from truly enjoying winter but this month I am intentionally taking time to look for those things in my life that I’m thankful for, that I want to pause and appreciate. Life moves faster and faster, and I want to really savor the things I can and should, so I can appreciate this moment for the gift that it is.
In the last couple weeks, here’s my savorables:
Smiles and jokes with my niece Gloria at dinner a couple weeks ago. She’s such a funny little person (20 months old) and even with a fairly small vocabulary, that girl can tease and joke around. I saw her again at Mass on Saturday and she very seriously helped me retrieve the baskets for the collection. I love her and enjoy the moments we can spend together. Such a delightful, funny little person.
A cozy evening with my grandma two weeks ago. I miss seeing her every week since I’ve been spending more time with my grandpa at my parents house and making it down to visit her less. She is such a sweet, feisty, and all around terrific lady and in a tough spot of watching her husband fading and facing her own limitations (recent hip replacement, arthritis, macular degeneration that has her nearly blind). As we’ve done regularly in the past few years, we question the right situation for her and grandpa. Where they should be, what help we need to care for them. Grandpa is living with my parents and she is very lonely and also starting to realize how insecure it feels to be alone much of the time (even with home health aide coming morning and night for meds, showers, and other assistance). We had a very real and raw discussion of these things– she asked me direct questions about what I thought, and I gave her direct and honest answers. Loving but not beating around the bush. We both cried a couple times. It made me so incredibly thankful for this lady and the role she has in my life, and that in the past decade she has gone from being just my grandma to being one of my dear friends as well. What an incomparable gift.
Similarly, I spend an evening a week with my grandpa who is living with my parents. He is such a dear and sweet man. While his memory is fading fast, he is kind and sweet and loves his people. And he loves me. The other night while I was over, he told me “You’re the only one I have fun with.” Ha! With no short term memory, anyone he is with is the one he has fun with, but I still appreciate the sentiment. He was tired but didn’t want to go to bed, so after a few games of pool, several episodes of his favorite Lawrence Welk show, and then some more pool, “Come sit with me on the couch.” For a girl that doesn’t sit often, spending time with Grandpa is sometimes a challenge in that I have to leave my bustling productive self behind and just BE. And it is good. It reminds me of Jesus telling Martha, “Martha Martha, you are anxious and troubled over many things. Mary has chosen the better part (siting at the feet of Jesus).” Sometimes sitting with Grandpa and holding his hand while he tries to stay awake (and discusses my marriage prospects or lack thereof on a two minute repeating cycle) is exactly where I am supposed to be. It is a very real call to radical love and laying down my life for someone else. And I leave each visit knowing I have indeed encountered the person of Jesus and am filled with more grace and inspiration for my own journey.
Candles and tea and blankets, oh my! I unearthed some candles that had been packed since my move and have been burning them whenever I’m home. I love it!! It is cozy and smells yummy and makes me feel better about an evening cooped up indoors. (And sometimes a candle leaks and spills all over my puppy who was trying to gobble up the wax on the floor). I’ve always been a big fan of candles and pulling them out and lighting them has improved my mood somehow and made cold winter evenings just a little bit better.
Warm blankets. Totally worth the hype. My upstairs is heated by space heaters (read: not heated most of the time) so going up to the chilly upstairs and climbing into bed always makes me grateful for a warm comforter, for fleece pajamas, for the heating pad to warm me up. Yes, the room is chilly, but I sleep so deeply and so well in there under my pile of cozy.
The gift of friendship. After being kind of anti-social for the first part of January (which is how introverts recover from a very busy and social Christmas season), the last few weeks have been catching up with a lot of people. Lots on the calendar, lots of visiting, so many wonderful people in my life to be thankful for and savor the time spent together.
What are you savoring today?