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A Lot of Little Things

A Lot of Little Things

Legos were scattered. Their container, empty. He was crying. His face in his hands. A shaky voice, “It’s too much. It’s just too much. I made this mess, but I can’t clean it up.” 

His stress was ratcheting as he heard me entering the room after the crash. He was already countering what he anticipated that I’d say: “If you can make the mess, you can clean it up.”

Why do I say that? It’s a lie, at least sometimes. It’s just false. My ability to make things messy, can far surpass my ability to clean it all up somedays, too many days. Why should it be different for him? In fact he had already begun to clean up, but two tiny fists and a mountain of scattering little bricks seemed impossible. 

His story began spilling out of how he had this idea, and then he tried to, and then he, but then…His story was as jumbled and scattered as the mess. The point was he never intended the Lego bag to empty. No. Not at all.

He thought his plan would work and he would be playing now, rather than knee deep in bricks. I've been there, the villain in my own story.

I was sorry to see his angst. 

Legos in ever widening, scattering, flattening mountains are a lot of little things. A lot. And when they aren’t contained, it’s a rough business.

‘A lot of little things.’ I say that often when trying to put a face to why my day is ‘bad.’ It’s how I describe why my mood is sour or exhaustion has crept into my bones for no ‘real’ reason. It’s common to say and accurate. Little things, in mass, can be a lot. Overwhelming. Numbing. Outrageous.

There isn't always one big bad culprit to point to in reasoning why a day, week, season... year, has gone awry. Sometimes, so many times, it's just 'a lot of little things.'

But why do all the little things that go wrong get so much spotlight in our lives, place so much weight in our boots?

Often, there are so many more things going well. So many more little things that are right, good, and deserving of our attention and gratitude. All those good little things don't add up to a contended feeling for one tiny reason; we don't see them. We aren't actively looking for them. They aren't on our radar. 

We scooped up those Legos together because loads of little troubles are much more bearable when endured in good company. So my little man and I, much to his relief, together picked up Legos for all the minutes that it takes. So. Many. 

I have been trying to remind myself lately of how much I have to be grateful for. That despite all the little things that scatter and stress me, there are so many things going well. So many things large and small that I can be content with. Lately, it has been my attempt to get those things in front of my eyes to be accounted for and into my soul to be appreciated. 

If a lot of little weights can drown a person, then I would think a lot of little buoys could also surface a person.

My life in this season is simple (not easy), small, full of laughter, slow, difficult, heart wrenching, yet beautifully amazing because of, you guessed it,  a lot of little things. I will choose to turn my attention to that which will buoy me in my gratitude. Let those treasures be 'all my little things'.

The giant cobalt blue, tea cup shaped, coffee mug and saucer set I received for my wedding in 2012 , it's a go to small thing for me. It holds my hot then rewarmed x10 coffee for me all day. Did my friend know all those years ago that it would be the very item that bolsters my resolve mid-day all these years later? My life looks so different now then it did back then. It's small and simple, just cup, but I give it positive weight. Or the fresh flowers I happened to place on my table. Who knew they would be the beautiful thing to catch my eye after learning something hard and unexpected? Positive weight. A buoy.

Have you ever been called a looser by a little child who wished he could have a new mom on a day when you felt absolutely looser-y and not confident you were being the ok-ish mom you strive to be? Me too.  But in the scheme of all get out, it's small things. He was kissing my cheek and loving me to the moon hours later. My ok-ish status well vetted. He even called me 'best mom ever.' 

Don't attribute more weight to the negative small things than the positive ones. (I'm telling myself x10.)

If you catch me smiling, it will probably be because I remembered all the little things. I hope that's why you are smiling too.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8

Two books have helped me in thinking about this: 1000 Gifts, by Ann Voskamp and Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman.

Thanks for reading!



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The Grand Popito

The Grand Popito