Let’s talk about romance. No, I don’t mean the boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after kind of romance (although that is nice, too). I’m talking about “romance” as a way of life. Romance the way the Victorians thought of it—art for art’s sake. Beauty for beauty’s sake. Webster has a definition of romance that is this: A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.
Except I’d like to change that definition just a little. Instead of thinking of romance as “a remoteness from everyday life” why not be intentional about putting romance into our everyday lives? There’s no reason on earth not to, and so many reasons that adding touches of romance to the everyday makes life better in so many ways.
All it takes is a few intentional actions. And maybe a reminder or two, if we’re not already in the habit of living a “charmed life.” Here are a few things I’ve chosen to do on a regular basis that make every day one filled with little romances, little pleasures, little reminders of God’s glorious qualities and of his care for me.
• Light. Let there be light! Jesus is the light of the world. Maybe that’s why light is such a delight to me. In the daytime, I can’t wait to roll up the blinds and throw open the curtains all through the house. Let the sun shine in. And at night I turn on little lamps all through the house. I’ve researched and discovered that it costs very little to burn a little 7-watt, or even a 25-watt nightlight bulb for a few hours each evening, but oh, what warmth and romance it adds to the house—especially during the longer winter nights. Obvious romantic sources of light include a fire in the fireplace, candles—all the better if they are scented, and the light of the moon and stars on a clear night.
• Flowers. I think I learned this when our children were small, but a little vase of flowers—even if they are dandelions or a few sprigs of clover—brightens up a kitchen table or fireplace mantel almost as well as an expensive flower shop bouquet. I love having perennials and annuals growing in our yard to cut and bring inside from spring to fall, and if there are no flowers in bloom, then pretty autumn leaves or seedpods will do. Put them in your fanciest vase, or an old coffee can, and enjoy them for however long they last. I think that’s one of the qualities of these kinds of romantic touches—they have a short life and thus invite us to enjoy them while they last…even if that’s only a day or two.
• Dishes. I confess to being a collector of dishes and plates and glasses. Some of you have seen my crazy collection of mugs…going on 100 now! And one of my tiny pleasures each morning is choosing the mug I’ll use all day. (I confess, sometimes I use two different mugs the same day, just because…well, why not?) I make a rule of never eating a snack on a paper towel when I have so many pretty little snack dishes that will truly elevate the experience of eating that snack. We took the doors off our cupboards so I can enjoy looking at my dishes all day long, and it’s easy to select a pretty dish to eat from.
• Music. Sometimes I forget that music is mine to enjoy at the touch of a button! Though I often write to music, sometimes I forget to turn music on until I need to drown out some annoying sound. And then! Oh, I can’t believe I haven’t been availing myself of the gorgeous, mood-lifting, breathtaking, joy-bringing music I have access to on my laptop. I wish we still had a piano (and a place to put one) because I used to tease my husband that our piano saved him hundreds of dollars of counseling fees every month. Playing is just that therapeutic to me…and that was especially true when we had four kids and all lived together in a 1500-square foot duplex! But even without a piano or other musical instruments at my disposal, there is one instrument I can play any time I want: my voice! I’ve noticed that my grandchildren sing all the time! With abandon, not caring who hears, making up their own happy tunes. I want to be more like them, knowing the Lord is more interested in the intent of my heart than the talent of my voice (which is pretty non-existent).
I think I could write a whole book on this topic of creating romance in everyday life, but there are a few things to get you started. What would you add to the list? What are the things that make the ordinary extraordinary for you?”