Back when you were a kid, an X Mark on a map meant that there was fabulous pirate treasure to be found. It was probably 20 paces from the Hangman’s Tree, buried 6 feet deep, and contained Spanish doubloons, gem-encrusted golden chalices, and a curse that would follow those who disturbed the treasure. While there is little more exciting than searching for hidden pirate booty, adults have learned that there are some things that are just as valuable as imaginary adventures that lead to imaginary treasures. These things may be more mundane than piles of gold, but they can have the same effect on someone who has learned to appreciate the little things. Come to think of it, that is exactly what children do. They appreciate the little things.
My Favorite Things
You have probably heard the Julie Andrew’s classic, which she sang in The Sound of Music. In the song,My Favorite Things, she sings about all of the things that ring her joy, and they really are mundane. Whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens are not the types of things that scream adventure. They do, however, conjure up images of home, love and warmth. The things that Andrews sings about are surely the treasures of life that we are supposed to enjoy. None of them are particularly expensive, but all of them are about warm feelings, security, and family as experienced through things like crisp apple strudel and schnitzel with noodles.
Seeking and Finding
In the United States, it is very important that people seek the treasures of the world. Things like gold, diamonds, fast cars, and big houses are coveted as symbols of prosperity, power, and success. However, we are taught that we should not treasure the things of this world. Scrooge says that there is nothing that the world is so hard on as poverty, and he is right, but the missing part of that equation is that rich people are often less happy than poor people. Studies have shown that the rich give less to charity; yet, generosity is an indicator of happiness. While people spend all of their life making money, they miss out on the most important things in life.
Herein lies the devil, but his counterpart is there as well. There is great beauty in the details, which is why the devil is trying to muck them up. It is the small things that make for great adventure and great love. Taking pleasure in ladybugs, paper sailboat races with your children, and other activities that bring the family together will make the movie at the end of your life worthy of an encore viewing. Find your passion, make it about other people, and if family time comes in the yard and garden, then that is where you will find your X Mark. The place may not contain pirate booty of rubies, emeralds, and gold, but it will contain something much greater — the happiness where love is found.