Most people have heard some variation of the saying: “It’s not climbing the mountain that kills you, it’s the pebble in your shoe.” It’s a great quote, and a true one, I think.
I also think that most ideas work both ways. So if little things matter in a negative sense, they also matter in a positive one.
I want to explore this idea in a short series of posts. I was inspired by something a friend of mine wrote on this subject, and I’ll be sharing his words as part of the series, but today, I want to begin with a short introduction to why “little things” really matter.
First, let me begin with a definition of “little things.”
“Little things” can be anything that we might off-handedly consider minor, trivial, or unimportant “in the grand scheme of life.”
Often, these “little things” consist of routines, habits, hobbies, traditions, moments of diversion, or our own little personal or family rituals.
It’s not uncommon to be criticized or teased about your love of one of these “little things,” or to be accused of wasting time on them; but I honestly think that many of these “little things” we casually dismiss or give each other grief about might really be the most important things of all. And some of the “big things” that we take so seriously and devote so much time to, actually aren’t all that meaningful.
Here are a few examples of “little things”:
A simple meal with friends.
A regular family trip to a familiar place.
A walk in the woods.
A few quiet moments with a good book or a cup of coffee or, better yet, both.
Playing a simple game with your child.
Working in your garden.
Ordering your favorite item in your favorite restaurant for the hundredth time.
Slow dancing with the one you love.
Sleeping in on a rainy morning.
Watching your favorite movie, TV show, or sports team with your family or a few close friends.
Think about these for a minute, or think of some others of your own; and then ask yourself if they really are trivial. Or if they aren’t in fact important and special and things you’re life would be a little empty without.
We have plenty of “big things” in our lives and in our world. Some “big things” – like politics and religion – can divide us; but “little things” bring us together.
These little things not only enrich the soul, but in them we find common ground, shared experiences, and a mutual, universal understanding of feelings that are often hard to put into words.
Nothing is meaningless. Everything matters. And my experience is that life is better when we can find the poetry, mystery and magic in everyday things. No matter how small.
We should celebrate the “little things” and make time every day to absorb ourselves in them, because they are bigger than we may realize.
The “little things” leave the deepest impressions and make us feel most alive.
That’s why they matter.