“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best –” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ~ Winnie the Pooh
Ah, don’t you just love the anticipation? Isn’t it just the best thing? Oh, but the enjoyment of actually doing it! Then, alas it is over …. Oh, but the memory is worth its weight in gold …. err honey.
When we take a look at those three words, promises, anticipation and enjoyment, we would think that they mean very different and separate things. If we limit ourselves to the dictionary meaning for each of those words, we would be correct.
A promise is an assurance, a guarantee, a pledge or a vow, that something will be so; or something will happen, either immediately or eventually.
To anticipate something is to be expectant of that thing, person, occasion, gift etc. Also to have hope that something wonderful is going to happen, based upon past experiences.
Enjoyment is the actual pleasure, delight, satisfaction or gratification that we derive from whatever it is that we have obtained.
If we look more closely at each of these words, we would realise that they are intimately conjoined.
Even Winnie-the-Pooh knew from past experience that there was something more to eating that honey, than just the sheer enjoyment of it all …. And of course he was a bear of very little brain. Sometimes I think that maybe we aren’t much more ‘cleverer’ than dear old Winnie. We probably know the word to match the feeling, but we don’t always appreciate that feeling for how wonderful it is. I know I often forget to stop, listen and feel – how about you?
Back in 2008, I went on a cruise. HoneyBun and I flew to Bangkok, stayed a week, and then took a 21-night cruise back to Sydney via South East Asia. We spent months planning and talking about our upcoming holiday, imagining what it would be like (I had never been on a cruise before). We had both travelled before, HoneyBun more than me, however, each experience is different. We were so excited! I remember being about one week out of Australia on our return trip home. I became impatient to be back home, not because I wasn’t having a good time, but because once more I was anticipating something. This time my anticipation was backed up by a promise that something good would happen – I loved going back home. ‘There is no place quite like home’. HoneyBun and I had thoroughly enjoyed our trip; the feelings of satisfaction and gratification were immeasurable. Yes, when we arrived back home there was also the feeling of “oh, it is all over now”; but those precious memories would remain forever.
I have done some travelling in my life; seeing places such as Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Great Barrier Reef, Islands of the South Pacific – the list goes on. Then there was Bali, Los Angeles and Egypt. I really do feel blessed; however if I had not anticipated each journey before going, I don’t believe the experience would have been quite the same. As human beings, we rely on our memories of past events to know whether or not something might be good or worthwhile. That pot of honey was pretty good judging by the amount of golden joy that was running down Winnie’s paws, and the remnants smeared all over his cute, furry face; but the day-dreamy look on his sweet face when he anticipated the enjoyment he would derive from that golden pot of heaven, is almost indescribable. I feel that same way about a piece of lemon cheesecake, or maybe a slice of chocolate/raspberry torte, with loads of cream. Oh, the expectation, the sheer delight and the afterglow of basking in the memory – mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!
We need promises, anticipation and enjoyment to be so closely related to fully appreciate the beauty of everything that is around us, provided for us, and even those things and events that we indeed work so hard for. I have always said that half of the fun is looking forward to something. Now as I approach more senior years, I believe that looking forward to something and then cherishing the memories, are usually most of the fun.
You can probably see where this is heading by now. I hope so because when I first started preparing this post I didn’t think it would lead to exactly where it has. The message I wanted to remind myself of and pass on was basically the same, perhaps with a little bit less cake.
Our lives here on earth are for us to enjoy, to make others happy, to work hard and provide the best we can. We won’t always be happy with everything that happens in life, but we need to make the best of everything. Our lives are filled with sadness and joy, pain and delight; life is one big rollercoaster. We are not meant to stay here on earth forever, we are actually citizens of heaven. We don’t know what that really entails, but we have been made a promise by God so that we can anticipate with joy and delight, the world that is yet to come. Our total enjoyment of our eternity is based on faith – faith that God is true to His Word, and of course, we know He is.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16
Patiently we must wait; but with joyful anticipation, that God’s promises to us will come to pass, and our joy will be everlasting, surpassing any form of human enjoyment that we could ever imagine.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9
Photo courtesy of LivingWithGod.org
Never my dear friends, take any moment or memory for granted – yes we know that there is something more beautiful coming and we must joyously anticipate; but every moment and every memory that we make here on earth will contribute to and richly embroider our everlasting lives in paradise. I wish us all a beautiful and glorious life of hopeful anticipation, laced with excitement for the enjoyment that has been promised to us.
Oh yes, and honey, cake, and whatever else our little human hearts desire.
Originally published on my Just Jo’Anne website/blog in August 2015