When nosing around my church's library one Sunday afternoon, I ran across a book entitled, "Life's Extras' by Archibald Rutledge. It's a very old book (as is everything in my church's library) originally published in 1928. In it, the author speaks of the blessings that lie in the little unnecessary things of life. He called them, "life's extras". He wrote that creation supplies us with just two kinds of things: necessities and extras. He wrote, "sunlight, air, water, food, shelter --these are among the bare necessities. With them we can exist. But moonlight and starlight are distinctly extras; so are music, the perfumes, flowers. The wind is perhaps a necessity; but the song that it croons through the morning pines is a different thing." He talked about a dreadful feeling he had one day while one his way to visit a sick friend. On his walk there, which he had taken many times before, he noticed that a full moon had transformed an otherwise scrawny bush-like surrounding into a lustrous serene landscape. The scene immediately quieted his heart and the beauty of it swept away his sadness.
I truly love this book and, since discovering it in my church's library, have gifted it to friends who I feel would adore it as much as I do. Just like the author, I have found that the beauty and wonder of life's extras is not to enable us to exist but are simply gifts of love to bring us joy. I would like to think that each time I carefully craft and mold a bar of my soap, or a scrumptious bath salt, filling it with scents and colors designed to conjure up sweet memories or simply to soothe and relax, that somehow it too represents 'life's extras'. Surely, these things are not necessities (though some would debate that) but, I hope they will be viewed as an extraordinary provision: one of those things that we do not have to have but which we enjoy all the more for that very reason. My challenge to you is to look for life's extras -everyday.