When you’re in the midst of oodles of small things, they feel like big things. Until you’re smack-dab in the middle of a big thing. Then you remember how blessed you were to be absorbed in a lot of small things.
We are creatures of habit. And when life’s things get rearranged – it’s big.
Our “life things” have been rearranged lately. We are in the final phase of building our not so empty nest, and all of the little things that entail the construction of our house feel like a very big thing right now. Building our house is a complicated thing. A sometimes frustrating thing and a fun thing. But it’s not everything.
Most of our things have been packed away for over a year and a half. Longer than I anticipated for sure. Material things aren’t important in the sense of monetary value or significance in my life. Still, many things hold precious memories, either of people we love or places we’ve been. They serve to deliver the daily requirement of nutrition to my heart and soul. They make me feel safe, giving me a sense of groundedness. And they never fail to visually inspire me each and every day. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to walk through the door and say, “Ah – I’m home.” As my eyes scan the room, surrounded by all the things I’ve placed throughout our home with love. That’s the thing I miss the most. But this is a temporary thing. It’s a house thing, not a human thing.
Speaking of human things, there’s one, amongst many, that I can always count on – my sister, Julie. The other week while the final few minutes of the PennState vs. Michigan football game played out. As my husband jumped up and down, cheering loudly for our dear friend’s alma mater. And our dog, Cooper, barked uncontrollably. The decibel level reached an all time high. An annoying thing. It remains to be seen whether Cooper was barking out of pure maniacal fear or rooting for Penn State, as well. Through all the barking and cheering I somehow managed to hear my phone. A miraculous thing. And so I slipped into our bedroom and stole away a precious hour with my sister on the other end of the phone. I sat huddled on the floor of my office, just off our bedroom, in my pajamas. I lit a candle and hung out with my sissy as if we were having a full fledged sleep-over. We laughed over silly sister things. We commiserated over life things, and we listened as each of us shared our things. After our long distance slumber party of releasing all things big and small was over, I felt renewed.
My conversation with my sister filled me with all good things big and small for a reason. Ultimately, it’s about one thing. The greatest thing. The thing that exists in all of us. Love. Ahh yes, the love thing! Everything starts from love. It’s our internal jumping off point. Love of ourself. Our body. Our intellectual and emotional well being. Our spiritual growth. Loving ourselves frees us to fully love others. To celebrate them. It enables us to be happy for them. To listen. To better understand them. To support them. And sometimes – to forgive them.
Love is a many splendored thing. Which leads us to other splendored things. Love fully embraced is an infinite thing. Love leads us to be courageous. A monumental thing. And loving big requires immeasurable courage. A sometimes scary thing. Opening us up to potential failure, rejection or apathy. Loving big with courage shows us how to look the other way – the way that we are going. Period. Let’s call it “love courage.” Love courage shakes its head yes when you’re saying no. It leads when you don’t know how to move. It forgives when you’re having trouble letting go. Love courage smiles brightly in the shadow of sadness. It provides options for what appears to be unsolvable. Love courage affords us vision in the right direction. It ignores the naysayers. Love courage gives us hope.
Sometimes my love courage gets lost in a pile of life things, like a sock amid a pile of laundry. I give up, assuming I’ve lost it for good. Then I find it stuck to another thing it didn’t belong with. Giving me pause. I smile and shake my head, knowing it was right in front of me the entire time. Camouflaged by another thing. I just needed to look harder. Closer (smaller).
Where would we be without all things big and small? Ironically, they either keep us balanced or tip the scales of life in one direction or another. One thing is for sure. Life’s things will shift again. And again. Making us feel big or small. Causing us to change and grow and learn. Teaching us to love small things in a big way.
Which leads me back to the thing. The love thing. It exists in all things big and small.
A house built without love will forever remain a house. A family without unconditional love will remain individuals related to one another. Material things will remain just material things without meaning or scope. And love without courage will remain love unexplored.
“Without love, nothing else matters.”
Not one thing.