It’s the Little Things that Bring Big Things: Meditations on the New Year

Little things make the big things: what little things that make big things could we do in the big “do-over” time that we call the New Year?


the little things that can make big things for the New Year
My newly straight post-surgical feet

For the last four months of 2017, I lived with foot one or another in the “toes above the nose” stance. I had finally decided to undergo the surgeries necessary to correct inherited foot problems that have plagued me since I was a teen. And that was a long time ago.

As the year ended, the months of near immobility and the depression that accompanied it began to lift. I am now six weeks past my final surgery. Full healing will take up to a year, and it is necessary to wear a flat post-surgical shoe for several more weeks. However, I have no pain, no more really awful hardware sticking out of my toes, and considerably more mobility.

It dawned on me how much the little things matter to me.

For the first time in months, I put on a pair of jeans without worrying whether I will dislodge one of the pins. I pulled on socks that cover my toes, impossible before. I put away all my clothes in their proper spots, rather than placing them where I would have to take the least possible number of steps to dress.

I discarded the foot care bag with its gauze and open toe foot coverings and scab-healing salve that has been my constant companion. Everything went back to the first-aid container. I tossed the shower boot which has kept one or another foot dry for these past months onto the far back of a shelf the top of the closet.

I took a shower. A shower that included washing my feet. Pure bliss!

I still use a cane when out of the house–it’s a perfect way to protect my still tender feet from others getting too close and accidentally hurting me. But I’ve stopped using any walking aid at home.

Just a bundle of little things. The little things that make life liveable. The ability to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to put on shoes before standing up. The capacity to carry laundry from the utility room to the bedroom with two hands, not one hand with the other balancing my gimpy foot with a cane. Being able to get in and out of the car by myself. Going up and down a step without the accompanying terror of falling.

Little things. They all add up big things: more freedom, a sense of profound relief and renewed hope for the future.

Now we approach that time of the year, January 1, that I often call “the big do-over.”

We all need a do-over periodically. The fresh start. The shaking off the dust of past mistakes and missteps. The longing for new birth, for fresh forgiveness that is the center of many religious traditions, and especially of Christianity.

As it approaches, I have started wondering what little things I could do in this annual do-over that might bring big things.

  • What little act of kindness can I perform?
  • What little kind thing can I do for my own health?
  • What little healthy thing can I do for my spiritual vitality?
  • What spiritually vital thing can I do for my community?
  • What community action might lift someone from grinding poverty or despairing hopelessness?
  • What can those who live in poverty or hopelessness teach me who lives in such comfort?
  • What can my comfort do to better the world around me?
  • What kindness can the better world around me then bring to others?

Little things.

Little things make big things.

Let’s do some big things together. Let us all resolve to be purveyors of grace carrying around with us the aroma of hope in our do-over time.


Photo (c) Christy Thomas


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  • Reese

    Dear Fibber Pastor, Will your “do-over” humility and honesty move you to admit that you were 100% wrong on the “Banned Words” at CDC” FAKE news? You built a #THISMUSTSTOP case, comparing my president to one of the worst tyrants in world history based on CNN fake news that has been fully debunked. But, you won’t withdraw your blog. You won’t admit you were wrong. Will the done-over new you be more honest? Impossible! First, because you are a liberal and, as such, you 1000% believe you are better, smarter, and more honest than we mere mortals. Secondly, you’re a woman. I’ve been married to one for 40 years. Women will not accept that they are ever wrong about anything a man is accused of. Even if the facts verify his innocence in the current case, a woman believes he will be guilty of something else just as serious in a future case, so the condemnation must stand in perpetuity. When any liberal is ALSO a woman, the chances of a disingenuous indictment increase exponentially. I’m a realist. I am sure the “done-over” you will be just like the old you, but with better feet.

    • Chuck Johnson

      As far as I can tell, the CDC attempted to ban the words that Christie listed.
      That attempt has apparently failed, and required the use of “spin doctoring” to deal with the public uproar that was created.

      http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/16/health/cdc-banned-words/index.html
      https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/cdc-director-says-there-are-no-banned-words-at-the-agency

      • Reese

        Below is from a Denver Post article, certainly not a conservative daily, but it points out a different story than reported by fake news leaders PBS and CNN.
        “The most informative story I read so far ran in the medical news site STAT, which still used unnamed sources but corroborated the Times’s alternative version that the word-policing came from within the CDC ranks, and that its purpose was to second-guess the preferences of conservatives in charge of government funding. According to that story:

        “A Health and Human Services official who asked not to be named told STAT it was not accurate to say that CDC had been ordered not to use the seven words. Instead, he said, agency budget analysts were told that some words and phrasing might be more likely to win support for the CDC’s budget in the current Congress.”

        So, there is currently no trail linking Trump to any ban or suggestion thereof. But, Fibber Pastor would submit that the “story” proves that Trump will soon be filling railcars with Americans and shipping them to gas chambers by the millions, that he is planning to invade neighbors, that he will soon dismiss the congress and courts. Typical liberal prevarication, hiding behind goody Godly dressing. 91% of media coverage of Trump is said to negative with CNN and PBS being primary prevaricators. Good thing for my side, very few people watch those networks. Try Fox News – it is fair and balanced…

        • Chuck Johnson

          I tried Fox news at your suggestion.
          They are promoting authoritarian thinking and politics.
          That tends to be the Republican and Conservative way of thinking.

          • Reese

            At least we have being awake and combative at this hour in common. Happy New Year.

          • Chuck Johnson

            Happy New Year !

          • Reese

            Did you have an issue with Obama’s, “I don’t need the congress. I have a phone and a pen (for all those executive orders).” If authoritarianism scares you, that must have been most upsetting…

          • Chuck Johnson

            Not especially.
            The founding fathers decided to include such executive powers as part of the presidency.
            Any time that Congress decides to change such executive powers, it has that option.

            That’s what presidents do.
            Congress has its powers, the President has his, the Federal court system has its powers, etc.

          • Reese

            Translation: “No problem. Obama is a liberal Democrat.”

          • Chuck Johnson

            No, it’s
            “No problem. Presidents have had this kind of executive power for many years.”

          • Reese

            Did you have an issue with Obama’s, “I don’t need the congress. I have a phone and a pen (for all those executive orders).” If authoritarianism scares you, that must have been most upsetting…

    • Linda Coleman Allen

      Reese, I am sorry that you have had problems with women and liberals. I feel that you should know that we are not all like that. I am a Democrat and was raised as a conservative liberal. Yes, we do exist. I believe in law and order, right and wrong, good and bad. The problems that we encounter are when we want to define these things. Not everyone agrees on what is right and wrong or what is good and bad. Although I frequently fail, I try to check my Bible for guidelines and keep in mind what that Book has to say. I believe in education and work. I was able to work for 35 years before illness struck. Not what I had planned. I am very grateful for Medicare and Social Security. They made it possible for my husband and I to raise our two grandchildren after I became ill and had to stop working. I lost my husband of 39 years 3-1/2 years ago. I have missed him every day. And we had plenty of arguments and disagreements. Oh, what I would give to have him back. He was man of honor.

      • Reese

        Thanks for your note. I take note of life with a woman and my reactions are much the same as most men I know and comics. It is a humorous battle if one keeps his sense of humor. And, having raised 3 daughters, I see definite trends which my son-in-laws confirm. But, 40 years and counting – my Blessings. Liberals? There is nothing humorous that I have found. Of course, I’ve never met a “conservative liberal”, but I find liberals are about emotions and ignore facts. And, it is a constant battle. This rhetorical question best sums up the battle for me: “Why is it we constantly hear that Social Security is running out of money, but we never hear that welfare is running out of money?” We who worked hard and put money in all those years now worry while those who contributed nothing have an endless hammock… Thanks for reaching out. I regret your loss, but you are a woman of Faith and you know there will come a day… and it will last forever!

  • Linda Coleman Allen

    Will the “done over” you be just like the old you, but with better feet? Will you look for new ways to forgive and be kind? Will you be a new person who really cares about others? Will you allow others to have a “do over”? Will you?

    • Reese

      Excuse me. You talkin’ to me or the “Fibber Pastor”?

      • Linda Coleman Allen

        To the pastor. I know her, and this is total garbage coming from her.

        • Reese

          Wow! I sure didn’t see that coming!

          • Linda Coleman Allen

            She had me fooled for a long time.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Thank you, Christie !