At the moment, I am reading ‘readings from the book of exile’ by Pádraig Ó Tuama as part of my quiet time. His writing is full of brilliant observation of tiny details, which give great power and resonance to his poetry. One of my favourites is called ‘’Tis the gift’. It is about being kind to yourself at the end of a long day, or as the poem says, ‘treat your own self as your own welcome guest’. Many of us in the congregation live alone. We sit down to eat by ourselves most days. Preparing a meal may be delight or a chore, even for those with a partner or a family. I love this poem because it encourages me to treasure myself, as much as I would someone I have invited into my home. I do cook for myself every day and usually sit at the dining table to eat. Sometimes I barely taste the food as my mind is so preoccupied with other things and I don’t notice what I am eating. The poem invites me to stop, to savour, to light candles, use my favourite plates or best cutlery (I am from Sheffield – of course I have best cutlery). I do not need to wait for someone else to come into my home before I use these beautiful things and cook meals that are more than just fuel for my body. When I take the time to notice the colours and smells, the flavours and textures, the meal becomes a source of joy and thanksgiving in itself, and I relish the experience, instead of rushing to finish what is on my plate.
From the surprise appearance of a rainbow to the joy of savouring the flavours in good food, there are moments of pleasure and delight to be found in each day, if we are willing to take time to notice them. What will you relish this week?