Sunday, April 7, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

I can actually feel my eyes glazing over when I read people lamenting over various issues in their Facebook statuses.  
"Why does Wal-Mart only have three registers open?  Grrr!"  
" The dog chewed up my last good pair of sneakers!"   
" Is it too much to ask that people use a turn signal??"
I suppose I used to be one of these people as well.   I would moan about having too many papers to grade, or not wanting the weekend to end, or how I looked all over town for a new pair of shoes to wear, but couldn't find just the right ones.  It's because I didn't know any better.  I had not yet been taught this very cruel lesson, which is this:
Life is as fragile as a spider's silk web on a windy day.  It is a gift not everyone receives, yet it is so easily squandered and taken for granted by so many who have it.  
Maybe you are not one of these people.   Maybe you realize just how precious your gift is.   Maybe you treat each moment, and the people in it, with the care and respect it deserves.  Maybe you say "I love you" instead of "in a minute".   Maybe you live your life with purpose, and you place importance on every ticking second, because you know those seconds won't last forever.  Maybe you didn't have to learn this lesson the hard way.

I have learned many lessons in the last six weeks.  About friendship.  About love.  About justice.  About life.  From these lessons, I have learned that all those little things we stress about so much - all those daily irritations and inconveniences - do not matter in the slightest.  Not one bit.  We think they do.  We think they are the reason for our unhappiness.  We think they are the reason our life isn't going the way we want it to at the moment.   If only this person in front of me would quit stepping on the brake so much.  If only my doctor wouldn't keep me waiting for my appointment today.  If only I didn't have so much paperwork to do.  None of it matters.  It's all a part of life.  We think life is so intricate and messy.   We think that all these little things add up and come together to shape our days, our months, our years in such defining ways.  We think we have to organize and categorize every piece of our existence.  Making file folders of our life.  File Folders that we will return to one day when we are old and gray - to remember what we have done with ourselves.   In reality, we only have one folder.  It is labeled NOW.   

Life isn't complicated, we just want it to be.  We want to justify how we feel with the thoughts that this is actually important.  Why would this affect us so much if it wasn't a big deal?   It is because we let it affect us.   We allow the little things to permeate our existence to the point where nothing is little anymore.  Everything is an issue.  Everything is a problem.  Nothing satisfies us.

Stop it.  Be satisfied in each moment. When the line at the supermarket isn't moving, take comfort in the fact you have money to buy your groceries.   When your favorite coffee mug shatters on the floor, be happy in the fact that you didn't slice your foot - and that there's still more coffee in the pot.  Be happy with what you have - this amazing gift of life.  You are alive!  You breathe.  Your heart beats.  Your eyes see, your ears hear, your legs walk.  Your mind spins.  As all of us have learned lately, not everyone is bestowed this gift.  Not everyone gets this chance.   But you do.  And I do.   And I can tell you with absolute certainty that I do not intend to take the slender thread of life for granted anymore.  We are guaranteed nothing, so it is up to us to secure each and every moment for ourselves and for the people we love.  

Kenely is not here to enjoy her life.  She cannot smell the fresh, spring breeze.   She cannot see the bright, warm sunshine.   Her life was stolen from her and she cannot get it back.  But, I can live for the both of us.  I did it for eight months - and I will continue doing it.  That is the reason I got out of bed today and the reason I will get out of bed tomorrow.  I will live for her, and so she will live in me.  Who do you live for? 



  1. Rebecca, this is so well stated. I completely agree with you. To answer your question, I live each day in hopes (and with actions) to leave this world a better place than I found it for the generations that will follow me. I live to create a legacy of warmth, love, generosity, and the very spirit you write about. One of the gifts that I value is your friendship. You are a one of a kind friend. Your willingness to embrace each new day with all of the energy you can muster to share your journey with others is a testament of who you are and will continue to be for you and for your Kenley.

  2. i live for all 6 of my beautiful kids the 5 here with me and the 1 in heaven i teach my children to never take for granted one day day has no age ...... you have stated this so beautifully.......... <3 :)

  3. death has no age..... :( *

  4. So well said! I want this one printed out so I do not forget in my moments of frustration. You are SO right; all the little annoyances are not what makes up life. It is the people we love and the actions we take to better this world. (No matter how small the improvement!)

  5. Your wisdom and experience inspire me to try harder. Tara