“Hey, it’s the little things in life.” We’ve all heard that before; we’ve likely said it ourselves; perhaps a bit sarcastically when surprised by an unexpected taste of joy from something simple.
For our June musings, let’s remember the truth in that statement and the immense value in those often overlooked occurrences. Life is full of “little things” which have potential to become big, influential, outlook-altering catalysts. Just like the mustard seed (one of the tiniest seeds) that grows into one of the largest plants.
First, I want to acknowledge the value in simple acts of kindness.
For example, I now appreciate the power in a smile. Smiles imply:
Recognition of someone’s presence
Implication of worth
Portrayal of calmness/peace
Emission of warmth and ease
Happiness, which can be contagious for both parties
Release of endorphins - research shows, smiling can even change brain chemistry
Most of us understand this, as we offer many polite gestures: hold the door open, pick-up the book dropped by a hurried colleague, let the young man out into the line of traffic (even when it’s easy to assume the next person will). I might call a friend to check in while folding laundry. These small expressions take little time, radiate thoughtfulness, and make a large difference in someone’s day, even in their attitude. Have you heard any of those stories about a depressed person who decides to persevere thanks to a small act of kindness?
Here’s a silly example where my choosing to say “Hello” gave me a huge sense of love, joy, and peace. I had been thinking about my father, recently passed, as I worried over a big project I’d present that afternoon. On a topic near and dear to him, I considered how he would have been involved if he was still here. Early that morning, I passed a colleague and offered a morning salutation. She was carrying a box (I barely noticed). She stopped to chat, although now I can’t recall about what... for two or three minutes - tops. She pulled up the box and opened it saying, “Here, I know it’s early, but would you like one? I never get these, but something inspired me to pick them up instead of the usual pound cake or croissant.” I looked inside the box - chocolate drizzled macaroons. I gasped. She continued, “Yeah, I know; macaroons are not my usual fare but they called to me today.” Macaroons were my Dad’s favorite cookie, pastry, or treat. It was as if he spoke to me. “Lil, this afternoon will go great. Don’t worry, trust me, trust yourself, trust the Holy Spirit.” I was filled with confidence and hope! I felt him nearby... All that from saying, “Hello.”
Small acts of kindness are indeed rewarding, for giver and recipient. I recommend we dole them out generously!
Secondly, awareness itself is underrated. I realized that being aware of my surroundings, my feelings, and other’s feelings, gives me helpful insight. Furthermore, giving attention to the little things in my life, has made me more positive, optimistic, and whole. You know what else? In all those things… God is there! He is present in the smallest aspects of our day.
Don’t let the little things go unnoticed. Look at the pretty bird, enchanting flower, or traveling ladybug; pay attention to the inquisitive baby delighting with awe in discovery; be aware of the sunshine; savor a favorite song or the dog’s ecstatically wagging tail; relish sitting under a shade tree catching up with an old friend as a perfect summer breeze wafts about… notice the beauty and splendor in the simplicity.
Just like “more is less,” small is big, and miniscule can be huge. Remember the mouse who pulls the thorn from the lion’s paw, think of David and Goliath, think of the colleague that offered a tiny macaroon which changed an entire day! Think of the Holy Spirit’s whisper in a breeze - all is well.
The tiny mustard seed has so much potential. Savor and enjoy them all!
Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.