1. Sunrises. Because when that first light of the new day peeks through your window blinds, you’re reminded that the pain of yesterday does not need to carry into today. You’re reminded that the person you were before no longer needs to be a label on your chest. You’re reminded that new beginnings are possible, and no matter what happened, today is a new day.
2. Children’s laughter. You could be having the worst day of your life, but when you hear the unconscious giggle swell up in the belly of a child, everything else seems to fade away. Suddenly it doesn’t matter so much that the barista got your coffee order wrong, or that someone in a Black Lexus cut you off on the highway, or you have to pay off a credit card bill that you deeply regret. When that laughter fills your ears, you’re reminded of the way children live such blissful lives, how they don’t carry their pain from moment to moment, how they laugh and let go and simply live in the moment where they are—light and free.
3. Hand-holding. So much can be conveyed in an embrace, a hug, a kiss. But when two hands—warm and calm and clammy and calloused and strong and tender and rough—touch, there is so much to be revealed about the differences between us, about the similarities. About how we are such unique and complex people, and yet we are all craving the same thing: to be known, to be heard, to be felt, to be loved.
4. Morning air. There is a distinct smell, a distinct taste to morning air. The dew is still rising from the grass. The world is just starting to hum to life, not yet polluted by noise and sound and exhaust. The morning air is light, is fresh. It is a new beginning. A silence. An invitation to begin again, to become, to celebrate being—right here, right now.
5. Eye contact. Shared across a crowded room. Snuck in a fleeting moment. Experienced in an intimate place. Held for a minute too long. The power of eye contact is unmatched. In a single moment, we are so deeply tied to one another, conveying emotion or love or excitement or confusion or fear. In a single moment, we are brought together in our shared vulnerability, and there is so much beauty in that.
6. Warm drinks. Hot chocolate. Coffee brewed first thing in the morning. Tea when your throat is scratchy. A mug of something that heats your chest. There is something cozy about a warm drink and a good book, or good company. There is something human about each sip, each smile, each heartbeat—inner and outer peace.
7. First bites. Of whatever you’ve been craving, melting in all its flavor and spice on your tongue. Satisfaction.
8. Forgiveness. And it’s mysterious power to set us free.
9. Answered, and unanswered prayers. Because they are always what we needed, even if we didn’t even ask. Because they lead us away from places we shouldn’t be, and into where we should. Because they remind us that we are loved and cared for, and never fighting our battles alone. Because our God is ever-present. Because life, even when we cannot make sense of it, somehow always falls according to plan.
10. Unconscious smiles. Shared between strangers, or friends. Exchanged in a quick moment, or when you stop mid-conversation and look at someone and realize that, my God, you love the hell out of them. The expression that flits across your face naturally when you’re surrounded by people, or alone, or just looking up at the sky. Sometimes the joy just fills you so fast, you can’t control the way your mouth moves. And without hesitation, happiness spreads across your lips.