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?
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 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 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