Every now and then, either in my journal or here on my blog, I write a list of Small Things. These are the little moments filling me with joy at the time.
It’s become a habit now, but it all started several years ago, when I was going through the heartache of infertility. Around the same time, a friend had recommended me the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and, other than the Bible, it was probably the most life changing book I have read. In it, Voskamp makes a profound, personal, beautiful case for practising gratitude. It’s not about denying the pain and suffering around us or within us. In fact, in all her work, Voskamp writes evocatively and passionately about pain and hardship. It is, however, about seeing the goodness around you and celebrating it – counting the gifts and letting them fill you up. For me, counting and naming the small things makes my heart swell. Where before I may have felt my lack, this simple act makes me feel lucky and loved. It gives me hope and faith that, in Sam’s words from The Lord of the Rings, “there is still good in the world, and it’s worth holding onto.”
This week has been a week of struggle for me, battling my own confidence issues, a general feeling of restlessness with this Lockdown, trying to help my children stay regulated, managing their home learning and, more importantly, their emotional needs, and generally feeling the effects of a lack of sleep. Yet – of course – there have also been all these lovely moments and gifts. Our Monday morning started well: there was the sweet spontaneity of my daughter asking to have her face painted and then flying around the house as a colourful butterfly, which, after a dreary day of rain and hail the day before, was a breath of fresh air. There was the imagination and energy of my son drawing me into his game. And then there was half an hour of crazy. At the mention of home learning, all hell broke loose! You know that saying about not joining children in their chaos but being their calm? I didn’t do that! Chaos reigned for a bit. But then, we went outside. It was crisp and cold. We found ice everywhere, held it in our hands, felt it’s smoothness, and when we looked at it closely, we discovered intricate patterns. We saw frost covering the grass and edging the leaves, and piles of glistening hail in the sandpit. The robin sang brightly, as only a robin can. The children pretended they were penguins and slid down the icy slide.
As the week went on, there were plenty of struggles. But there was also a chat with a supportive friend, a cup of warm hot chocolate and time wrapping presents for our daughter’s birthday. There was late evening laughter at a silly TV show and there were moments of escaping into books. There were the snowdrops and even the first daffodils, promising that Spring will come.
What are your Small Things this week?