Little Things

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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!