Little Things

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on

In 1954, the Number One song on the U.S. Billboard chart was Kitty Kallen’s recording of “Little Things Mean a Lot.” (Yes, I was alive back then.) It’s stood the test of time, and was even recorded by Willie Nelson. I’ve always loved this song about the little kindnesses we do and maybe don’t value enough.

According to Goodreads, it was Kurt Vonnegut who said “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Why big? Because they are the touchstones of who we are, who and what we love, and who we want to be. They warm our hearts even as a long ago memory.

On this cold winter morning, I’m pondering some little big things.

Last weekend, a foreign student told me her loneliness eased when a girl she didn’t know helped her find her way across an unfamiliar campus. She won’t ever forget that day.

A surprise of daffodils blossomed in the front garden our first spring in a new house, planted by the previous owners. That splash of yellow is now something I look forward to as the days lengthen.

My high school crush got us both out of a boring party without embarrassing me or the awkward, unpopular girl who was hostess. Though we grew up far apart on the political spectrum, I’ll always love him for that moment of kindness.

On a Sunday morning when the national news was shockingly horrible, a guest minister at my church led a chant of Om, shanti, shanti and my gaze went to the round window far above his head where the bare tips of a branch reached upward to the sky, to the light, and even as I sat among the congregation, I saw my self as observer in the larger scheme of things.

The poet Mary Oliver, queen of seeing beauty in little things from a blade of grass to a grasshopper, died this month and many people have been reflecting on her words. Check out any of her poems if you don’t know her.

We do need to be present to enjoy these little things, not anticipating the future or reliving the past. Neuroscientists say that taking in the good, letting ourselves really savor it, can even rewire our brains to look for more of the same.

What little things have enriched your life?

Leave your reply in the comments and I’ll put your name in the drawing for a hardcover copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton, just the things for a long cozy read on a winter’s day.

The winner of this month’s drawing is  Linda Hoye! She wins a copy of The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Congratulations, Linda, and thanks for stopping by!

14 thoughts on “Little Things

  1. Very sweet post. And an important message. I was thinking lately about how little I remember before about age 10, and one after another, all these “little things” (well, my jack o lantern setting fire to the drapes wasn’t so little) came back to me. Just as you say, they’re what stayed with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Linda, It’s been awhile missed reading your beautiful posts. This article touched my soul because it was spot on when it comes to the memory bank. The little things that we do for those we love or a stranger really does matter, Because even though we think that instant act of kindness is gone after it’s occurrence,
    It’s not, because it fills our heart and soul with an unconditional feeling of goodness and the true feeling of what being human is, It reminds me of the old saying that at the end of the day, Look in the mirror And if you like who you see then you are a good person.
    I do so many random acts of kindness merely because I want to. because every person and animal
    Matters in this big world that we live in.
    love your articles, “

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Linda,

    I tried to leave reply to the post but it wouldn’t take it. Too long perhaps? I’m attaching it here.

    And here is the lead-in that I was trying to include at top of post:

    Great piece, Linda! And look what you just inspired me to write! (Readers: Please know I did not write this for self-aggrandizement, but as a reflection on the lasting good feelings of little things, and for the inspirational message I hope it conveys.)

    Thanks! And hope all is well with you. Tim


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Truly, it is these fleeting moments that result in long cherished memories. I remember, when my son was 6 or so and I was really busy cleaning up. It was a long day and as a single working mom, I was overwhelmed with all the responsibilities when I told my son to just leave me alone and go to bed. After I was done, I went to brush my teeth and there carefully placed was my toothbrush with toothpaste on it. It was a moment that deeply warmed the cockles of my heart. All these loving acts of cherishment are the essence of a joyful life.

    Liked by 1 person

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