In the week since my last post:
- My father spent 5 days in the hospital following emergency surgery.
- My brother sustained a mild concussion.
- My in laws spent their second week out of their home in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
- First one, then the other of my dogs hurt a leg.
- My great aunt died on Sunday.
And all those other things that I’ve been waiting on are still out there, just as unresolved as before.
Yes, that’s the sound of me taking a very deep breath. November has been a long month.
Ironically, in her post this weekend Martha Beck mentioned times like these, calling them rumble strips, “a barrage of seemingly unrelated catastrophes so severe you cannot ignore them.”
I stopped to just breathe…not even trying to meditate, or focus, just to breathe, many times this week. To remember that while I cared deeply about every one of these things, they aren’t things I can fix.
And I kept thinking of two things over and over: gratitude, and the little things.
I’m grateful for big things—that my great aunt lived to be 101, that she no longer suffers. That everyone else is ok. That no one else is on this list.
But truthfully, the things that have meant the most have been little things. Things like being able to text little jokes to my dad, so we could communicate even when he couldn’t talk. Like the direction of the wind that blew trees away from my in law’s house, and not into it, so that it was just the power and water that were out.
Memories of my great aunt at my grandmother’s kitchen table, laughing. Of the way these two sweet sisters transformed into steely competitors when the Parcheesi board came out.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the big picture, dealing with the Important Issues, being busy.
It’s so easy to be caught up in the drama that swirls around each of us and miss the simple little things right in front of us.
It’s so easy to think that we have to wait until we can make the big gesture, and skip the small kindness we could do right now.
It’s so easy to think that we have to wait until things are perfect and we can make all the big changes we think of, and overlook the tiny shifts we could easily make at this very moment.
But the little things? The little moments?
They aren’t little.
That’s what I want to remember from this week.