This year I did something unusual: I kept a box of chocolates for myself! We packed up so many boxes that I had one extra, even after mailing out a carload of boxes. So I have been munching on the box. It’s a TOTALLY different experience, and it got me thinking.
Normally, I don’t eat my finished chocolates. I nibble the “seconds” during the production run (to keep from being hungry as much as anything else), and I’ll eat a few of the leftovers, but I’ve never had an entire box to call my own. And I’m surprised by what a delight it is to be able to dive into the box and choose from a dizzying array of different flavors, just ONE of each! Do I eat the guava first, or the coconut tequila lime fudge, or that tempting-looking I-haven’t-looked-it-up-yet piece shaped like a comma? There’s so much variety in the flavors that I both want to try everything at once and save everything for later, because when that one piece is gone, it’s gone forever. It’s a totally different experience from eating one “bruised” chocolate from an entire tray of chocolates (80+).
Which makes me think about our attitude towards things, and time. When we’re busy, we don’t really appreciate the wonderful things that life throws our way – yup, that tasted good, got a hundred more where that came from, gotta keep making chocolates. It’s only when we have leisure time, and when we get things handed to us in a nice box with a ribbon bow, packaged neatly as an assortment of perfect (and unique!) chocolates, that we really pay attention. Somewhere in the process of manufacturing tons of things, we lose our appreciation for the individual item. Only when it’s fleeting, unique, and beautifully presented do we stop and think.
Which is one of the reasons I like projects like this wedding dress. It is very much like a box of chocolates: long hours of loving labor to produce, and one passing moment when it will be fully appreciated. So it will have its special “hour in the sun”, and will be appreciated as the treasure it is.
But then, I got to thinking. What if we “reclaimed the usual”? What if, instead of watching the minutes fly by, one after another, we treasured each moment as the fleeting, passing chocolate that it is? What if we made each item precious by touching it with our creativity? Would that not be a life worth leading?
I’m not suggesting that every moment is a highlight. But if we could dress ourselves entirely in handwoven fabrics, what a gift that would be! Each piece of clothing precious, hard-won, something to take pride in and show off to others.
And then I asked myself: what is the source of that satisfaction? Must something be unusual, unique, to be appreciated? Because in long-ago years, everyone wore handwoven fabric, and it was nothing unusual. Did people still take pride in their handiwork, the way we take pride in ours, in modern times?
I don’t know why things must be unique to be treasured. Could we not gain even more from life by reclaiming the usual? What makes it so hard to treasure each and every thing, mass-produced or not?
Interesting questions, for which I am still meditating on the answers…