I shared last time where God is in my ordinary life and so this week I spent some time looking for those ordinary blessings that I’ve been taking for granted. I’m not talking about the blessings of home, food and clean water, a working vehicle, a fulfilling job, and the fact that I was born in and live in a country with all the medical and technical advances and the freedom to live as I choose. I’m talking about the subtle blessings God has built into us like memories, laughter and tears.
Have you ever thought of laughter as a blessing from God? Or memories? Or tears? Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins and protects the heart. Studies have shown that laughter can improve memory recall, increase the ability to learn, and lower stress and its harmful effects on the body.
Memories are a fact of life and the older you get the more treasured those memories become. They transport us back to a time and place that is gone now allowing us to exist and live and breathe in that moment once more. Memories can help us make decisions for the future and memory helps us do every day ordinary things—we don’t have to relearn to do a daily task over and over again because we remember how to do it. When we observe people affected by Alzheimer’s or Dementia, we understand how important memories are.
Tears keep the eyes lubricated and clear of foreign matter but they also help us express deep emotion—joy, sadness, hurt, anger, hopelessness, love, gratitude… like steam escaping from a boiling teapot, tears help us from being overwhelmed by these emotions. We don’t have to think about it. It just happens even when we don’t want it to.
Now that I’ve shared the technical aspects of these blessings, I’d like to share the real-life application of these blessings. My mom, a friend and I were meeting for lunch at the mall on Saturday. Mom and I were already there and had a few free moments so we stopped in the Hallmark store to browse. As we were looking, I came upon a tiny stuffed Wizard of Oz Scarecrow. As I held it tightly in my hands, my eyes teared up even as a smile emerged. It triggered the memory of my two-year old son dancing and singing “If I Only Had a Brain” along with the Scarecrow on TV and Bryan plopping down on the ground and pulling Easter grass from his shirt and throwing it up into the air to simulate the hay falling out of the Scarecrow’s shirt. Of course we purchased the toy Scarecrow.
At lunch I showed my friend the tiny scarecrow and I guess she wasn’t expecting to find a stuffed toy in her face at the moment and she jumped back astonished. The three of us laughed long and hard. I laughed so hard, I had tears streaming down my face. When I think of that moment, I still get a smile on my face.
These marvelous blessings: laughter, memories, and tears are just a miniscule sampling of the blessings I’ve been overlooking every day. Life is a most precious gift and too often I forget that. I’m so glad God reminded me of it today.