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Monday, Apr. 21, 2014

Power of little things

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Remember when we were little? All of our siblings were bigger than we were. The furniture was made for people larger than us. We even had to crawl up to sit in most of the chairs in the house. Our dream was to get big. Our parents would praise us by saying, "What a big girl you are!" when we had done something well. Being big was very important to us.

Now, most of you who are reading this essay are as big as you'll ever get. Some of us may even be getting smaller again. But we all are in the category of adults which, to children, means the same as being a big person. But isn't it funny that now when I am among those who are considered to be big people, I see so many little things that rule my life?

Because of something very little I cannot enjoy my lawn as I would like to. I can't even take out the trash without paying a penalty, and I don't enjoy picnics like I used to. Why? Because of a little thing called a chigger. I can't even see them, but they control my actions. Sure I can go out on the grass. They can't prohibit me from doing it. But if I do defy their reign, I spend nights itching because of the little sores on my body. It's not as bad at night in the privacy of my own home, but when I am out in public I become miserable because I can't politely reach the source of my discomfort. That little bug has control over my actions.

Another small thing that controls me somewhat is the little battery in my hearing aids. If one goes dead when I am away from my source of spare batteries, I might as well go home. If I can't hear what someone is saying I am not decent company. Other people get cranky if I keep asking for words to be repeated. That, in turn, makes me cranky also. (I still feel that people are less tolerant of hearing problems in others than in any other disability.) Along that line I guess the little thingy in my ear that isn't working right is the real culprit.

Now that we are "big" do you realize how often we are really ruled by those little ones around us? When a baby cries we have to obey if we have any concern for the child at all, or even if we don't like the sound of the crying. When the child gets a little older, but still not one of us "big people" we respond to the needs of the little ones no matter how tired or busy we are.

I have a rather small thing on my wrist that controls me daily. Of course, it is my watch. It sits there quietly moving its hands around the dial (you can see how old fashioned I am that my watch has hands and a dial instead of a read-out). It doesn't tell me what to do, but when I glance at its face I often spring into action. Sometimes that is a slow motion spring however! I shouldn't let that little watch tell me what to do, but other little things like meal time, dead-lines at the paper, starting times for meetings and church, and maybe one of the strongest pulls, the TV schedules, use my watch to keep me in line.

When I start listing all these little things I realize that maybe the most controlling of all these little things is the calendar. Even if I am in good shape, exercise regularly, eat well and observe good health rules, the calendar doesn't quit adding days. I can control how I live those days, but I can't keep them from adding up.

Maybe if I can stand a little straighter to compensate for some shrinkage, keep my batteries charged so I can hear you, organize my days better to avoid that pesky watch chiding me, let my children take care of their own little ones, and stay on the sidewalks, I can feel that I really am a big girl now and be in control of my life.

Or I can decide that it doesn't really matter. Being in control is just a little thing anyway.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus