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Recently, I traveled a road with a new friend. He is much younger than I and I asked him a simple question. How has life been for you so far? He responded that it had been filled with what he perceived as both good and bad, but that in the end, it was the little things which gave him some comfort. He said, “It’s about the smalls”.

Those words made an impact on me. Those words made me think about life in a much different way. Aside from the fact that it just sounds cool to hear something phrased in a way like, “it’s about the smalls”, it made me think about my own “smalls”. On the one hand, my “smalls” are my “bigs”, or I would not notice them at all. On the other hand, if life is truly about the smalls, then the smalls should not remain small.

I often write about how running water, the blooming of a flower, the smile of a child, or the hint that another might love you deeply are what we take for granted. My first reaction is to say that these are the small things in life that often go unnoticed. But really, they are not small. They are miracles. Simply because we take them for granted does not make them small at all. So what are the smalls?

By way of reasoning, the smalls are what do not last, or do not have a lasting impression. Our minds get what is small, and what is big, confused. We think we know the difference. We are wrong about what is big and small, what matters and does not matter, most of the time. Here is a small list (see what I did there?) of small things that we confuse for big things.

  • Our jobs
  • Our education
  • Our ideas
  • Our achievements
  • Our net worth
  • Our heritage
  • Our ethnicity
  • Our arguments
  • Our emotions
  • Our comfort
  • Our homes
  • Our possessions
  • Our vehicles
  • Our talents

And what of the bigs? What are the things that seem small to us, only because they go unnoticed, but are actually the biggest things of all? There are so many, but below are listed but a few.

  • Our joy
  • Our smile
  • Our breath
  • Our friends
  • Our chance encounters
  • Our passions
  • Our dreams
  • Our possibilities
  • Our loves
  • Our world
  • Our desire
  • Our compassion
  • Our empathy
  • Our gratitude

It is not so much that we ignore the small things in life and that this creates disharmony in our being. It is that we are a mixed up bunch, guided by commercials on television, targeted Google ads, and the opinions of others, into a world where we believe what we need, or what we believe will make us complete, is to be found in artificial objects and material things, provided in artificial ways. We do not need to treasure the small things, we need to realize the really small things are what we have been conditioned to crave.

I am not advocating we disown the finer things in life. I am not against the sale or the driving of new cars. I am not recommending we all live in identical 900 square foot apartments and that we dress alike in order not to stand out from the crowd.

What I am advising, to others and myself, is that we not confuse what matters with what matters very little. Soon I will be coming off the road from a small trip. I will hug my wife and we will most likely find ourselves sitting on a deck overlooking a backyard full of birds and blossoming trees. There are birds and blossoms where I am now, and I speak to my wife on the phone, but there will be something different when I am with her.

My home will be the same. My job will be the same. My bank account will be the same. My breath might even be in the same rhythm. I will, however, be at peace, knowing that she is near me. And this is, for me a big. It is for you to find your big. My advice for you is to choose a big from the second list and not the first. My advice is to find a love, of a spouse, of a garden, of a child, or of a pet, or even of a song, and love it with all that you are and are to become.

The biggest big of all, that we might think small, is love and love alone. It is only love that allows us to have anything worthy of a consideration. When you find this Love, be grateful. When you find this Love, be generous in the sharing of this Love. When you find this Love, the world will no longer be able to convince you that what it is selling is of any importance. You may purchase and use those things, but you will give them little consideration when determining the worth of yourself or others.

You, my friend. You, young man or young miss. You, are the very embodiment of what is both holy and at this time needed in the world. You are Love. And this is what I love most about you. Take the joy you find in simple things and create the same joy in the more complex things. Be at peace and smile for no reason at all.


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Author: Kevin Thompson

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