When musing over this past year I easily find my mind jumping to what I would deem to be the “big events” of the year. Such things as finishing graduate school, getting my license, the birth of my nephew, and vacation time in France. The mind seems to celebrate over those things which are by my estimation major, good, and deserve a few minutes of attention.
Yet if given the assignment to think of the “little things” over this past year, it is a much more difficult task. Are the simpler things important too? I remember my Grandfather, a survivor of the Great Depression, raving about how special it was to get an orange for Christmas. He used to tell us his own grandchildren that we “made out like bandits.” That was over 40 years ago now. Remembering his words continue to give me a hug from the past. I have such joy in reminiscing. He passed away in 1988.
Bandits usually overlook the things deemed to be small in value. So we can take joy in what the bandits leave behind. We are short-changing ourselves if we underestimate the significance of the small and mundane.
There are some that can celebrate in that they were able to get out of bed, get dressed, and even go to work. Going to work has been a big one for a lot of people these last couple of years. And of course, there are the typical having enough to eat and a roof over one’s head. My kids used to ask me if a penny was a lot of money. I would reply that it was a lot if you didn’t have it. So it is the same with a simple meal and a place to sleep. My old Grandpa used to tell me that his favorite meal was a hot dog. He could make a gourmet meal out of field dandelions, blue berries, wild mushrooms, and stuff he found around the yard. He knew how to survive. Some of his concoctions were actually pretty good! But I was a little wary of those mushrooms!
Among my little things include being able to do the laundry and driving my daughter to school. I complain a lot. But these things were accomplished and at times a form of mortification. Even maybe I lost a “little bit of” weight in the process. And I can’t downplay the precious time I got to spend with my daughter on her way to class. Our little conversations are ones I will cherish for years to come.
Being able to spend time with family members and friends has been another one of those little things that have great value to me. Seeing my nephews and nieces who live out-of-town. Some little persons who are quickly becoming quite bigger! Another year or even an extra day of life is something that many of us take for granted. It may seem like a small thing to some people, but to me my Catholic faith is something that I am deeply grateful for as well. I am happy to be able to go to Church. It has been a journey to get here and I still have ways to go. But it is in the small little host and chalice where the Real Presence of Jesus abides!
Blessed Mother Theresa used to say we should do small things with great love. St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower, stated, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love”(obtained from goodreads.com). I am not the best at expressing my love and care for everyone, but perhaps this is one of my little ways of doing so.
I’m sure there is more little stuff that I am grossly overlooking from this past year. Perhaps you have an easier time remembering your “little things”?