I had seen it so many times before. I can’t ever remember a time when it had not been a part of my life- as a little girl falling off of my bicycle, as a determined and somewhat doubtful teenage mother attending college, as a hopeful new Language Arts teacher and writer- it had always been there. Yet until now I had never noticed its ability to soothe me, calm me, envelope and wrap me in its warmth. I hadn’t stopped to experience its invitation to take me to my quiet, peaceful place that sometimes eluded me like a butterfly escapes the capture of the small, curious hands of a child. But now I see it; I feel it; I yearn for it. Something so massive in size and necessary to life yet so often overlooked for all of the pleasures that it brings- the sun. At sunset, at sunrise, high in the sky, seemingly floating on water- the sun had always been there, but until NOW I never really experienced it.
How many times have we missed the opportunity to enjoy a short, sweet hello from a forgotten friend, the sound of laughter from our children, the slow, delicious taste of a sip of creamy coffee or just a moment of silence in front of a fireplace with a novel or magazine in hand? These missed opportunities to STOP and let our senses enjoy the moment turn life into a never ending rat race only lived to pay bills and hope that it’s money left over to acquire more “things”. “Things” like approval from our friends and family, bigger houses, bigger cars, more degrees and more expensive Coach purses and red bottoms really only lead to wanting more and getting it at the sacrifice of precious time spent with our loved ones and time spent appreciating the “small” things. I have become intentional about listening to my eight-year-old and looking her in the eyes when she talks to me and rubs my arm instead of appeasing her with head nods and an empty “That’s great!” because I am trying to check my texts. The NOT so small thing. I have become intentional about putting on my favorite song in the kitchen- while cooking- giving J. Lo a run for her money with my choreography and laughing so hard about it that I almost burn the bacon. The NOT so small things. I have become intentional about calling to check on my grandmother, who lost two children within a four month period- one of which was my mom- just to hear her voice. The NOT so small things. And I gladly welcome all sunrises, sunsets, sweet kisses, tickle times, hugs with friends, short prayers of gratitude and thanks, rap battles with my children, kind gestures toward strangers and scents of flowers, candles and freshly baked cookies to INTERRUPT MY BEAUTIFULLY BUSY LIFE just to remind me that these NOT so small moments are REALLY what make life worth living!
What I have discovered FINALLY after 45 years of life, is that the NOT so small moments make my life MATTER. If I don’t get another car, degree, husband, Facebook “like”, speaking engagement or pat on the back with a sincere, “Great job!” those NOT so small moments would still be within my reach. All I have to do is STOP and notice them. They are transforming and powerful enough to bring us back to the center of who and what REALLY matter. They have the power to not only transform us into more grateful, gracious beings, but they also touch and inspire others, especially when our small moments intersect with another’s life. Those NOT so small moments actually have a HUGE impact on our physical, emotional and social health. A grateful heart is a healthy heart, and those moments inspire is to give thanks for all that is “right” in our lives instead of giving anxious thoughts to what is “wrong”.
The next time you are tempted to close the door on a moment to smell the roses (literally), to compliment a stranger, to engage in meaningful interaction with another soul, to smile at the sweet thought of love, to eat chocolate chip cookie slowly and enjoy its rich flavor, to journal reasons to be thankful, to sing really obnoxiously loud in your car (AND dance), to take a slow unrushed walk in the park, to feel your child’s hand in your own or to feel the soothing caress of a warm summer breeze on your face….open it! Open the door to the NOT so small things that can enrich you and those around you. I promise that it will make the BIGGER moments BETTER and make this journey called life just a little easier to travel.