November 28, 2005

The Little Things

Posted by Scott at 10:09 PM

Not a lot to write about family-wise today. Just a couple of thoughts that struck me here and there during the day…

The Little Way - I was taking the trash out to the curb for weekly pickup and had a moment of inspiration. What?! You don't get them when taking out the trash?!

I seem to regularly find that parenting gives a lot of small insights into the mind of God. One of the tenets of Catholicism is that God doesn't necessarily ask for great big acts of faith, but fidelity in the details, in the little things. I was carrying out the trash this morning and this came back to mind. How so?

As you know, we had a small snow shower on Thanksgiving that blessed us with about five inches of fresh snow. Near mid-afternoon the kids and I went outside to work on clearing out the snow. I asked them several times to not bother with the driveway as I would take care of that big open space with the snowthrower. Worry about the steps and the brick sidewalk, I asked several times. Those are surfaces that are difficult to clean with a big bulky snowthrower. But no. I'm guessing that they thought, if papa would be happy with the sidewalk, he'll be thrilled if we do the driveway.

Long story short, an hour later we were all back inside. I'd cleared the driveway with the snowthrower and there was still a lot of snow on the sidewalks. Five kids, five shovels, and yet, snow on the tiny stretch from the front door to the driveway.

Fast forward to today as I was taking the trash to the street and thinking, if it weren't for the snow by the front door, I wouldn't have to worry about tracking snow back into the house. But because they so wanted to impress me with their big efforts, this little stretch didn't get done.

Isn't that the way it is with us sometimes? Look God! Look at the [fill in the blank with some grandiose accomplishment] I did for you! What generosity! What charity! What faith!

Meanwhile the little things God asks of us, we neglect or do so begrudgingly, as if we're swatting annoying mosquitos aside. “Oh, okay. If I have to... I guess.”

This theme comes up several times as I study the works of Catholic saints and it's a main theme of Opus Dei. A common theme among many of the saints is that although some had a major event or events that really put them "over the top" for sainthood, most got there after a solid foundation of small acts of fidelity to their vocation. They had years of "practice" honing their sanctity. They didn't do just one great act that promoted them to sainthood.

Money - I'll close with this (unrelated) quote I came across today attributed to Benjamin Franklin:

“Money can help you to get medicines but not health. Money can help you to get soft pillows, but not sound sleep. Money can help you to get material comforts, but not eternal bliss. Money can help you to get ornaments, but not beauty. Money will help you to get an electric earphone, but not natural hearing. Attain the supreme wealth, wisdom, and you will have everything.”

I don't tend to get jealous of others' wealth, but reminding myself of Franklin's words would go a long way of staying clear of near occasions of jealosy.


That was actually a very appropriate story for me this morning, brother! Thanks for sharing the thoughts!

Posted by: Suzy at November 29, 2005 09:33 AM

Hi Suzy,
No problem. Glad you found it useful. Hope it helps you to bear the dozens of 'little burdens' you'll face today.

Posted by: Scott at November 29, 2005 09:36 AM