Skip to main content

THE small STUFF

My life is filled with a lot of things that are small. I DO a lot of small stuff like bake muffins, clean the bathroom, iron shirts, put up shelves, take care of banking, read my Bible, pray for people, write emails, make the bed, pet the cats, take pictures, and study French. I AM relatively small. No matter how much protein powder I ingest or how many push-ups I do, I will never be a large person. Most of my clothes have a label that says “S”, I can fit through an 8 inch gap without any trouble, and most 13-year-olds can wrestle me to the ground in short order. I am FASCINATED by small things: an ant, a pebble, a penny, a leaf, a puddle, a word. Sometimes I wish I lived on a grander scale; that I oversaw the design of sunsets, or planned world summits where enemies had to be roommates and make meals together and learn how to get along, or I discovered how to instantly transport matter from one location to another. That would be cool! But let me tell you a small story…

There was a girl who lived on a small farm in a small province in an insignificant country. Every day she got out of her small bed, put on a small dress, and walked to the small one-room school. One day, on her way to school, she saw a flash of fur in the high grass beside the road and turned to see a small cat running past. She crouched down and remained perfectly still, then called softly. The cat stopped its flight and looked at her, eyes wide with wildness. The small girl and the cat stayed motionless for a few minutes, then the cat turned and left.


The next day on the way to school, she saw the cat running by again. She crouched down and held out her hand. The cat stopped and remained in one spot, sniffing the air in front of it, but would not take a step towards her. The next day the girl brought a piece of cheese. When she saw the cat in the distance, she laid the cheese in the grass in front of her, then stepped back, but the cat would not approach with her in sight, so she walked away. For the next few months, the girl stopped at the same spot of grass every day and laid down a morsel of food for the cat. Gradually, the cat came closer and eventually started to eat the cheese right out of the girl’s hand. Over the school year, the cat began to accompany the girl on longer and longer segments of her walk, but remained in the long grass. Then one day, the cat came out of the grass and joined the girl on the path and walked beside her, and several weeks later, let the girl run her fingers through the fur on its back as they walked together.

Nearly a year after the girl first saw the cat, the teacher invited several students to bring something for a special show and tell the next day when an important guest would be present. The little girl volunteered. The next morning, the teacher and the students were all astounded when the little girl walked into the classroom with her arm draped around the neck of a young male lion. But not as astonished as the little girl was when the special guest of honour, the commander of the whole country’s army, pinned a shiny medal on her small dress and told her she was braver and had more authority than most of the people under his command.

Big accomplishments are always made up of small steps. Enjoy the small stuff. Do it well. Be faithful.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…