My good friend Tara Bahna-James recently recorded a stunning album entitled “My Favorite Things.” I urge you all to check it out. The album — and the beautiful cover art by Rev. Linda Hurley — have been added to my list of favorite things.
Listening to each track inspired me to ask: What are my favorite things? Is there a running theme? Are they all materialistic, or not materialistic at all?
I considered what lifts my mood when I’m feeling sad. They are many of the same things that remind me to be grateful when things don’t appear to be going my way.
I questioned whether the word “favorite” implies a holding on. It can be challenging to let go of things we love so much. It can feel risky to share them with the rest of the world, and to do it now.
With that in mind and heart, I’d like to share some of my favorite things with you now:
Egyptian geese playing and making a racket outside my window
Chick-flicks and rom-coms that have happy endings
Surprise calls from people I love
Writing my heart out
Having my heart broken so I remember that I’m human
Not being attached to the diagnosis
Praying with others
Pizza with just about any topping
The windmills of Mykonos
The view from the Hotel Platjador in Sitges, Spain
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
My collection of hearts
My soul mate of 31 years
Stars cradled in the sky
Songs that crack me open
Classes of all kinds
The stole my Dean blessed before ordination
My red shoes
Everything about Schitt’s Creek
Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
The way my 17-year-old dogs still smell like puppies
My collection of mermaids and mermen
Cruises to just about anywhere
Landmarks that take my breath away
My cat’s purr and her kneading paws
The peace of a silent night
Spending time with my sister
The altar I pray to every day
Sunrises on the beach
Sunsets at Mallory Square
Living in the mystery
Laughing deep from my belly
The tree of life
The memory of the first kiss that really mattered
Playing online Scrabble with my sister-in-law
Random acts of kindness
The Maya Angelou quote: “It’s not what you say but how you make people feel.”
It turns out I have lots of favorite things — and this is just the tip of the iceberg. A quote I discovered by the late Steve Jobs put my entire list in perspective: “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
Lately, it seems like I am reminded at every turn of the preciousness of time. A couple of weeks ago I learned that a childhood classmate died suddenly. Several people I care about very much are facing life-threatening diagnoses.
Perhaps what makes time such a precious resource is never knowing just how much we have. Buddha says, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” We all think that — until we don’t … then we pray for more.
As much as I love all of the things on my list, I know that without physical time they do not exist. They cannot be enjoyed the way I enjoy them now. One day my own time will end, and everything I hold dear will end with it. I have no doubt that I will rediscover it all in a different time and dimension — but not the way I know it now.
Being diagnosed with cancer three times made me realize just how quickly things can change. Surviving each time taught me to be grateful for what I have right now … for the way things are right now. It showed me in the most mystical and profound ways that our favorite things on earth, no matter how beautiful they may seem, pale in comparison to what awaits us after we leave.
Leo Christopher says, “There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”
If you have someone to forgive, forgive them now.
If you need to tell someone you love them, tell them now.
If you need to spend time with someone, do it now.
If you need to understand someone better, work on understanding now.
If you need to share your favorite things with people you love, share now.
Our time on this earth is way too precious to do anything else.