A Sunday Soapbox: Small Things

Heather says:
Almost every year in the late summer I take a road trip from my home in South Carolina to Minnesota. Along the way I get to visit friends and relatives, it’s one of the highlights of my year. Is it easy? Heck no, I’ve got three small children. Each year when I start making plans acquaintances say things like, “You’re so brave, I could never do that.” These comments usually just make me uncomfortable, but this year I began to give thought to using the trip as a fundraiser for a charity that empowers women, such as My Sister’s House.  So, I started researching the logistics I began to get excited. It looked like a manageable and fun project.

That’s when things started to fall apart. It hasn’t been anything big, but several unexpected expenses put a dent in the not-quite-necessity budget.  Additionally, even though this isn’t rational,  sometimes it feels as though a series of small mishaps and frustrations are a warning.

Friday I had to drive up to Richmond, VA for an errand (file this under one of the unexpected expenses). While sitting in a traffic jam that wasn’t moving, I heard a paraphrase of a quote by Mother Teresa, ” In this life we cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.”

Have you ever noticed how you can hear something your entire life, but when said at the right moment those same words can be a wake-up call? This was one of those moments. Sitting there, with hundreds of other people all wanting to just go, I began to reasses my plans. I made the decision to postpone the trip until next summer. This will allow much more time, thought, and effort to be put into the project.

Why bother to share this with you, when I had made no formal announcement? The words struck a chord and  I wanted to share the moment. Sometimes Ok, often I become frustrated with the daily grind and mostly it’s my own fault. I tend to do things in a half-assed, scattered manner. When things don’t go as planned, the pity party starts and my days become filled with resentment. Seriously, how spoiled am I?

Thursday I spent a good portion of the day sweltering in a laundromat with no AC. I had to repeatedly remind myself that I should be graetful that A) it was a one time thing and B) that washing machines and air conditioning even exist. Over the next few weeks I plan on forcing myself  through an attitude adjustment. Lofty, amorphous goals are on hold, while I focus on perfoming the small things with great love. I need to remind myself that success comes in finding  joy in every season.





10 Comments

  1. Judith on July 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I love Mother Theresa’s quote, too. It sits on a 3×5 card on my desk at work to remind me that doing ALL things in love makes them a different experience.
    Bless you and Ivy …………
    and Pam, I will keep your husband and your family in my prayers.

  2. Ceci on July 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I was all cranky this weekend becasue my laptop broke so i have no computer games or internet. Plus on Saturday I drove around in circles for 45 minutes trying to find a tailor that someone recommended, only to have them be very negative about the dress I bought in to have let out. (gee maybe they won’t be able to fix it and i won’t have to be in my sisters wedding on Aug 15).

    Then I came to work this morning and discovered that my friend/co-worker’s father has two weeks to live. He was diagnosed over a year ago with lung cancer that has spread so it’s not surprising but still. Kind of makes one count your blessings.

  3. Stacy on July 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for the post. It was helpful. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed right now myself, and need to make an attitude adjustment myself.

    Also, it’s hard to change plans, especially idealistic ones. Good for you, being realistic when needed, and seeking sanity and peace right now. It is good enough for now. That’s a lot more than it seems sometimes.

  4. ToyLady on July 20, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Heather, I often catch myself doing the same thing – a series of little things just pile up and try to ruin my whole day (or week)!

    I get frustrated, angry, sloppy, more frustrated. . . .

    You’re very wise to take a step back and focus on the here and now – I find it’s the only way to maintain my sanity.

  5. twadlund on July 20, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Very cool post. I agree with a previous reply that it is always good to be reminded of our blessings. I think that far to often we get into our daily grinds and don’t have time to look up until our heads are hitting the pillow. As an American I have an immediate advantage on almost anyone in the world, I’m am so very blessed just for that…

  6. Becca of the Diaper Cakes on July 20, 2009 at 12:04 am

    I really liked this post. Very human. Kudos!

    I, too, get frustrated at the mundane aspects of life. The laundry that has to be done, the leftovers that were forgotten (and now are growing) in my fridge….all those nit picky chores I hate. But my new thing is to say to myself….I could have to do all of this AND work 40 hours a week at a job I hate. I stop and then realize I have it pretty good.

    In this country most of us have it pretty good. I think if we took the time to realize this we could do a lot to end current problems our nation faces. We don’t need presidents and congressmen to solve our problems….we just need to realize that we have it pretty good and most of us really do have enough. Appreciate what you have (even the chores and the annoyances) and what you don’t have won’t matter.

    Wow….I need a ladder to get down off of this soapbox. (A little help please!)

  7. Becky on July 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Well said! I had a similar realization this weekend – must have been in the air.

  8. Pam on July 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    It is always good to be reminded of our blessings….Big and small. My husband was just diagnosed with prostate cancer.
    Our insurance…..which I am thankful for…..won’t pay for it to be done localy even though there is a qualified DR here to do the surgery…soooo we will travel 3 hours (one way) have the surgery…stay 3 days……drive home…….drive back in 3 more days……then repeat the trip again in 30 days……I am thankful
    we have insurance and can make the trip……I will not take any of this for granted…..we would appreciate your prayers especially
    on July 31 when he has the surgery. God Bless, Pam, South Bend

    • Heather on July 20, 2009 at 9:46 am

      Of course, Pam. That is such a scary diagnosis. I wish you nothing but the best.
      As a thought, consider a hotel for that first set of dates. I know it’s not budget friendly, but plan for the possibility that he may not be up for travelling.
      You both will be in our prayers.

  9. Erin on July 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Yay! You give me an opportunity to get on my Sunday soapbox! Thank you so much for the attention and support for victim services. This is an area that often goes unnoticed until a person is victimized. Domestic violence, rape, and child abuse are things that no one want to think or talk about, but victim advocates deal with this every day and offer invaluable services to those who are in their darkest hours. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act and now is the perfect time to support victim service providers!

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