Monumental events are making the news lately. We just finished the 2016 US election, a super moon hangs low on the night sky, the Cubs won, and Brad and Angie are officially kaput. At least one of these seems to have the country’s mood in its clutches, kind of like when dementors drift through the aisles of the Hogwarts Express.
It’s heavy. In a lot of homes, maybe yours, there’s a real possibility that it could hijack next week’s Thanksgiving as you sit gingerly next to people who see things differently, or who cast a different ballot. Like that 15 pound turkey Mamaw used to roast, it’s a lot to digest.
So I’ve been thinking small lately, and not just because of the news. Some days there’s just not enough coffee and I CAN. NOT. EVEN. Because I got home from the crowded grocery store and forgot a crucial item, a good friend just watched her mom go into assisted living, and my doll-sized mammogram cape kept flapping open all the way down the hall.
Overwhelmed is the word of the day. I can’t fix poverty and racism, make people love each other, or even remember to pray for everyone on the list. It becomes too easy to pull the covers up to my chin and surround myself with purring cats and Nutter Butters, or the rejects of the Halloween candy. Clearly, not a healthy alternative. Also, people have had Christmas lights up since October and we are hurtling towards the holidays–which are a big reason the word overwhelming was invented in the first place.
As I stood outside this afternoon trying to recover from the flapping cape incident, I noticed the chickadees throwing a party on the spent coneflowers. They were after the seeds. A neon arrow pointed down from the heavens, obnoxious enough that I recognized it in spite of myself. Seeds. Tiny, beautiful things. Birds, with their teeny bird beaks, have to eat them one at a time. They can’t mindlessly cram in handfuls like we do with potato chips or M&Ms.
Everything seemed to contract, reduced from the noise and angst of all the big Too Much of the world to a spiky black seed no bigger than a splinter. One tiny, beautiful thing.
These things will save all of us. One tiny irridescent raindrop at a time makes a downpour. Tiny seconds stretch into hours, days. Tiny grains of sand pile into miles of beach. One act. One prayer. One smile. One dollar. One seed at a time.
One of the smallest of all seeds is the mustard seed. You can hardly hold it in your hand without it falling through your fingers, but hallelujah that’s all that’s needed. Some days that’s all that’s left. A measure of faith that small can move mountains. We aren’t required to live every day in grand, sweeping gestures that remake the whole world. We aren’t asked to fix it all, do it all, be it all, know it all, or believe it all.
For now, we can all have one ounce of courage, show one person love, be grateful for one thing. Baby steps. Tiny, beautiful things.