I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the wow factor. It’s those moments or things in your life that make you instantly pause and have a profound moment of appreciation. It could be the beauty of something, or the way it makes you feel, or perhaps even how it awakens the senses. If you’re lucky, it sometimes even takes your breath away.
Before the pandemic, maybe because I was so busy, the wow-factor moments seemed to be only when I was having a mountaintop experience. It had to be big for me to take notice. Those moments literally came on the top of a mountain at a national park or camping for seven straight days with no technology near the boundary waters in Canada. These were lovely moments for our family, but spread out by years between these big wows.
I’ve noticed over the past few weeks of slowing down that the wow factors have multiplied in my life. They are not big moments, but they are definitely more frequent. It’s like a lens has shifted and I can see the simple moments for what they really are — beauty in progress. There are some that I create, but most are ones I only need to pay attention to. Here are some of the wow factors in my life during the last few weeks:
Peonies. Peonies are my favorite flower and there is such a short season in the spring when they bloom. I get in a frenzy to cut them before a rain shower takes them all out. A lovely friend at church was gone for a few weeks visiting family and she asked if I would like to cut the peonies in her yard to enjoy in my home. I was blown away by the offer, but then blown away again by the beautiful blooms on my kitchen table. Kindness is a wow.
Jessica Fletcher. Growing up, I would watch Murder, She Wrote with my grandma on Sunday evenings. I loved everything about Cabot Cove. I’ve been watching the series again in chronological order, starting with season one from 1984, and I can feel the memories wash over me, including being back on my grandma’s floor stretched out in front of her television. I even ordered a vintage, wool fish sweater like Jessica wore in one of the episodes. Nostalgia is also a wow.
Big hugs. While the world is no longer hugging and handshaking (and for a great reason!), our house has undergone a great transformation when it comes to hugging. With two teenage sons, hugs are not always appreciated or encouraged, but, as a loving mama, I can’t get enough of them. I just want to squeeze them tight. Maybe it’s the pandemic, or the copious amounts of quality time, or the sheer desperation on my face, but we’re back to hugs in our family with no awkwardness. Love is a big wow.
Words of encouragement. It’s no secret that letter writing is my jam. I love stationery and sending encouraging words. It’s been a season, however, of letters arriving in my mailbox from the most unexpected places. Coloring sheets from young kids, encouraging words from teenagers, catching up with college alums, inspiration from family friends, and kind words from those hurting in their own lives. I’ve written back to every single one and finally feel like all my pen-pal hopes and dreams are coming true. My mailbox is full of more letters than bills and junk mail, which brings me tears of happiness. A thoughtful note is a wow.
As it turns out, I’ve had a lot of wows surrounding me for years. I was just pedaling a little too hard to take notice (much like Jessica Fletcher pedaling around Cabot Cove in her adorable fish sweater!).
While this season has been filled with plenty of fear because of COVID and the unknowns, it’s also taught me how to savor more and appreciate the small things. It’s a lesson for which I need constant reminding.
What’s your wow factor right now? I’m guessing it might be right in front of you, too. Savor it, friends. Savor it.