Your grandma may have told you life was about the small things, but these days . . . nothing feels small at all.
Maybe you’ve got little people twisted around your legs or growing people stretched out across your backseat or almost adults who drove away from your house this morning, and you feel this pressure, pulsing through your core:
Gotta get it right, gotta get it right, gotta get it right . . .
It’s heavy, isn’t it?
This need to knock it out of the park?
And maybe it’s because getting it right is so important that it almost always feels like you’re getting it wrong. Or got it so wrong in the past that getting it right now isn’t an option.
You think back to that master plan you had and you marvel . . .
How did you get so far off track?
And it’s hard, thinking you’re getting the big picture all wrong. Chances are you’re working as hard as you know how to work. From the moment a child or a spouse or a deadline wakes you up in the morning to the moment you pass out at night, you are working.
And all this exhaustion and stress over the big picture, it’s not good for the tongue. You forget that your child is 2 or 4 or 10 or even 16, and you blame him like an adult for ruining your day. You forget that your spouse is on your team and you lash at him or her for something out of their control. You are appalled at the things that sometimes slip out of your mouth because they are the opposite of how you actually feel.
In one hot moment, you cash in on days and weeks and years of love.
Or maybe your tongue doesn’t get you in trouble, but your decisions do. Because all this stressing over the big picture, well . . . turns out it’s not good for your soul either. You start cutting corners, blurring lines, swimming in the gray. You start chasing money or security or fame and before you know it —
you screw up big time —
and someone or something you value gets hurt.
So it’s somewhere right here in this space where the master plan is too far gone and the day-to-day doesn’t look so good either that the devil starts to shout. You know it’s him because your thoughts begin to loop, louder and louder: You’re no good. Your future is blown. You might as well quit.
And you want to quit! You want to quit with every fiber of your being! You start to kid yourself that everyone would be better off if you walked away, went away, disappeared.
And then, out of the blue . . . you remember that thing that your grandma or your pastor or your parent or your friend told you about the small things.
So you decide to give it a whirl.
You start by putting one foot in front of the other. You fight through the tired and you get up in the morning. You go to work. You tell the truth. You remind your kids that you love them; that they matter; that they are worth it. You say you’re sorry when you’re wrong, which means you say it a lot. And before you go to bed at night you have groggy conversations with your very tired spouse and you remind him or her that you are proud of them; that you see them; that you care.
And though it seems like these are all very, very small things, you keep doing them, every day. Every night. Every 3 am wake-up. You do them because your master plan didn’t work. You do them because these little things are the only things you can seem to do right. For days and weeks and months and years, you keep putting one foot in front of the other.
One small step.
And then another.
And then one morning, you wake up and you look around. Your life still doesn’t look anything like that master plan you once had, but it looks comfortable, grace-filled, familiar. You look around at the people next to you, and you see friends. You see family. You see love.
And for the first time in awhile, you look back over your shoulder at the places you’ve been. Maybe you don’t see shiny trophies or pedestals in your honor, but what you see makes you feel something new . . .
A whole lot of grateful, and a little bit proud.
And then, because you have to, you put your shoulder back to the task at hand.
And you do the next small thing.