Monday, December 14, 2015

The Art of Savoring


There is a fine line between overindulgence and stinginess - and I tend to hop back and forth over it rather than walk that lovely line.

Can you relate?

There are several cookies left from my day of baking...so I should just finish them all now. (Somehow I seem to think this will take care of the problem, when it only makes me want to bake/buy more sweets!)

There are several books I've started on my Kindle...so I should read or skim them all now in order to start fresh.

There are several new movies I just bought...so I should watch them all this weekend. Because, why not?

Not that it's bad to enjoy life and the blessings we have! But I feel like I haven't been all that successful at developing the art of savoring things. 

It's a funny sort of dilemma. To learn to live as if each day were your last, while also living with respect for the future. 

Sometimes I want to eat it all, read it all, watch it all, buy it all, do it all now. No matter the consequences, be they extra pounds or a deep-seated dissatisfaction caused by rushing through life and biting off more than I should chew in one sitting. 

Of course, on the other end, I have my shelves of unread books. Books that I want to savor someday, and so I buy more and more and put off what I have, never cracking open the spines or opening that first digital page on my Fire tablet. 

As much as I'm glad to have stories to anticipate, what good are shelves full of books if I never get around to reading them, all while collecting more that I'll never get around to reading?

I want to find that fine line hidden somewhere in the grass that's grown wild in my heart. 


I remember finding it when I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I took my time reading that story, bringing it with me to savor on some of the nights I ate out. 

OK, I might have rushed a little more through the end. ;) But all in all, I loved taking my time, delighting in the experience of letting the story unfold bit by bit.

Of course, some books are meant to be a marathon rather than a leisurely stroll. Take Winter by Marissa Meyer, for example. I dare you to take your time reading that one over a series of weeks! 

I suppose it boils down to attitude, as most things do. 

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Our lives are a vapor (James 4:14).

But then, God has "made every thing beautiful in his time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

Consider this passage: "To every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?" (Ecclesiastes 8:6-7). It does often leave us miserable, doesn't it? To try to determine the right timing for something...to wait for God's perfect timing. It's really, really hard not to know things.

So we don't know how much longer we have - if today will be our last day. 

Should we eat all the cookies now? Should we finish all the books and movies today because tomorrow might not come?

I often find that eating just one more sweet...and just one more...doesn't make the experience any better. Same with rushing through a book that ought to be savored.

And yet, putting everything off until tomorrow only means that I likely won't enjoy it at all. 

Isn't it funny how tomorrow never really comes? Life is really just a string of todays.

I'll end this rambling post with a quote from Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (A. Because this book is wonderful and I'm so glad I've read it twice so far. B. Because I'm glad I got to watch the live streaming of the Daddy Long Legs musical last week, which was also wonderful.)
It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones - I've discovered the true secret of happiness, Daddy, and that is to live in the now. Not to be forever regretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to get the most that you can out of this very instant....

Most people don't live; they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lose all sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through....

I've decided to sit down by the way and pile up a lot of little happinesses.


I'm still learning the art of savoring, but I hope that even just the act of writing this post will push these reminders further into my soul and dig that fine line a little deeper across my heart.

14 comments:

Miranda A. Uyeh said...

Ah! Savoring each moment... not being stingy... Yeah. Tried my hardest to learn those and prayed God would really help me to. Thankfully, He answered. The answer? Be grateful ... for everything! It really is the only way. When I really started to count my daily blessings, then I understood that the seemingly familiar is actually privilege, and then I could savor a lot of moments—both big and small. That's my testimony this season! :)

Wishing you a very merry Christmas season, dear friend!

xoxo

Julie said...

Oh savoring! I wish this was something that just came naturally to me. I too have had to remind myself to savor the moments. Not just in reading, and in eating, but mostly when it comes to my grandchildren. I've found myself having to force myself to sit down when they are here and enjoy them all piling into my lap. I say force myself, but honestly I love that lap time, it is just that I forget when I get caught up in doing other things while they are here. They are only going to be this young once and I don't want to look back with regret that those precious moments were wasted doing things that didn't matter. So dinner isn't gourmet those nights, at least we are together and that is the most important. As for savoring a book...eek! There are so many that I just want to devour! And so many languishing on my Kindle and my shelves. I have slowed down in my reading though, it doesn't consume all of my time as it used to. Reading time has pretty much been reserved for bedtime where I can concentrate without interruption so it forces me to slow down, unfortunately it has made me become a bit ADD while reading. I have 3 or 4 books going at once! As for WINTER...it is taking me a loooonnnnnnggggg time to get through it. Not because it bores me, but because it stresses me! So yes, I have stretched it out to several weeks now. My goal is to hopefully finish it by the end of the year. In the meantime, I'm going to savor the Christmas season ;) May you and your family have a wonderful celebration of Christ's birth! :)

Allison Ruvidich said...

Love this. I needed it today. : D

Meghan Gorecki said...

So loved this my friend--and needed the reminders big time. <3 ( Despite my having purged a bunch of fiction from my shelves due to losing my desk but that's a story for a different time. LOL Suffice it to say my closest in age sister is a bit of a tough cookie when it comes to helping me purge and organize)

Amber Stokes said...

Miranda,

So good to see you here, friend! And thank you so much for sharing your testimony from this season. I love what you said here:

I understood that the seemingly familiar is actually privilege...

You're so right about taking the time to stop and be grateful, which can help us clearly see how much we have and how much we can enjoy and savor. Thank you for that excellent reminder!

Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well, Miranda! ((Hugs))

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

Oh, I wish it was something that came naturally to me, as well! I feel like I'm losing more and more of the tendency to stop and savor life as time goes by... I'm afraid it might be a vicious cycle, wherein the less time I take to savor God's goodness, the harder and harder it gets to stop and refocus on Him.

And I get what you're saying - that even the things we enjoy so much can be hard to truly savor! It's like we've been trained to multitask and to feel like everything must be tangibly productive. :\

I think you're so right to forego gourmet meals in favor of that time with your family. :) That's what everyone will remember: the delight of one another's company over the taste of the food.

LOL about wanting to devour all the books. That's me, too! ;) Although I think I'm adding to the stress of it all by constantly acquiring new books without giving myself time to enjoy the ones I already have. *heavy sigh*

And isn't it just fitting that I would make that dare about Winter and have one of my readers take me up on it? ;) It's definitely a more stressful read...and a very long one, too! I hope you still find it satisfying when all is said and done.

Thank you so much for your comment! I hope you get to truly savor the season - and I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas, as well! ♥

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Allison,

I'm so glad you were able to get something out of my ramblings! :) Thank you so much for reading, and blessings to you!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Meghan,

Aww, thank you, friend! I needed the reminders, too. :) It helps to write through things, doesn't it?

And oooh, that's tough having to purge the fiction! *whimper* You're a brave soul - in more ways than one. ♥

Saying a prayer for you in this difficult season and sending you hugs!

~Amber

Rissi said...

What a beautiful reminder, Amber. As always you've written a wonderful blog post. I can be either way. Sometimes I'm all like, "must watch/read/do all the things!" Other times, I surprise myself with the restraint I can practice and am able to savor things by "stretching" them out. Goes to show you we can employ the art of savoring when we want to. ;D

serena said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, and at such a fitting time of year. I can relate to jumping back and forth over that fine line.

Amber Stokes said...

Rissi,

Great point! I'm totally the same way, swinging between the two extremes of obsessing and savoring. I like the thought that we can employ the art of savoring when we set our minds and hearts to it. ;)

Thank you for the encouraging comment, dear friend!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Serena,

Thank you for the sweet comment, and for reading my rambling post! I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it - and to know I'm not the only one who struggles to "walk the line." :)

Hope you're having a great Christmas season!

~Amber

Kara said...

Beautifully said, my friend! That quote from Daddy Long Legs is just perfect for this post. Because you're exactly right. Savoring the moments, be they stories, movies, time with family/friends, whatever they are, is very important. Life is way too rush, rush! And just like when I scarf down my lunch, I'm not really tasting and enjoying, and isn't that what I *should* be doing? Tasting and enjoy? YES. But you also make a great point in that we are never guaranteed tomorrow. It's such an interesting quandary, isn't it? How much to enjoy the now (always!) balanced with how much to leave til another day that may never come. Even when I know that these things here are transient and once I get to Heaven the fact that I was unable to finish this book will mean nothing, yet I'm still human enough to WANT to finish it anyway. *heaves a big sigh* It's a good thing that God loves us regardless of our silliness sometimes! :)

Miranda said it best, we just need to take a day at a time and BE GRATEFUL. :)

Amber Stokes said...

Kara,

Loved reading your thoughts on this topic! I especially appreciate the reminder that God loves us despite our silliness. :) It's good to keep it all in perspective!

I'm currently reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. Have you read it? I'm enjoying it so far, and I love the idea of slowing down and enjoying those "Tuesdays" we stress through, rush through, and just want to get through, you know?

And yes, being grateful is the key to it all, isn't it? :)

~Amber