“Enjoy the little things in life for someday you’ll look back and realize they were the BIG things.” ~ Robert Brault
Thanksgiving is just around the corner in Canada where I am so proud to live and it is truly a beautiful time of year. Today I noticed a little thing some might think. The leaves had changed into their glorious fall colours and I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of it all. I have often thought of how God created the incredible trees so that even in their death they exude beauty for all of us to witness. Now I have walked by these trees day after day, yet somehow never really “saw” them until today. Life is like that sometimes. Little wonderful things can be right under our noses that we should take time to notice, yet we sometimes miss them for whatever reason. We have so many things to be thankful for that is certain, yet it is often the little things that we take for granted. We want different menu options, a larger bank account, a bigger home, a faster car, a better paying job and the list goes on and on. Sadly we forget at times those who are less fortunate and have none of these things at all.
Several years ago I was discussing different types of homes people have in Canada in social studies class with my students. Among the obvious answers were houses, apartments, trailer homes, and condominiums, yet in the discussion a very interesting “home” came up. A little girl raised her hand and said somewhat timidly “a cardboard box?” The puzzled students started giggling in confusion thinking this little girl was really "out to lunch" yet she went on to explain. On her family vacation they had driven through an area with a very high homeless population and she had seen a small settlement of makeshift homes from boxes and anything else these unfortunate people could find. Much to this little girl’s shock and dismay, her parents used this opportunity to explain and to enlighten her that that is how some people live. The student then went on to educate her classmates about how lucky we are to live the way we do and how that experience was something she will always remember. Shelter is a little thing we often do not think of as a blessing until we are face to face with someone who does not have that simple necessity. Our class conversation took a deeper turn that day and allowed us to focus on the little things in life that we often take for granted. We are so blessed to have homes, transportation, money for our needs, clothing and food on our tables. One year a new little boy entered my classroom who had recently been put in foster care. When I asked him if he would like to introduce himself to the class and share something about himself that was interesting or special he was more than happy to oblige. He proudly said his name and then he said something without hesitation I will never forget. He said “two things that are special about me are I like to eat well, and I like to be clean.” Little things that we take for granted like plenty of food and a warm bath or shower were recent luxuries that he was truly grateful for. These little things were placed high on his thankful list. It was a very humbling moment for me and I felt honored to have that little sweetheart on my class list. He stole my heart that day and I made it a personal mission of mine to make sure he felt very blessed that year under my direction.
Little things can bring us so much joy if we are open. A warm cup of tea, an unexpected phone call, a funny movie, a good laugh with friends, curling up for a nap, a warm cozy fire, or a lazy Saturday afternoon with no particular agenda can bring us such pleasure. There has been an uprising on social media about gratitude where people are making a conscious effort to recognize mostly the little things that enhance their lives and bring them joy. This is truly wonderful because we all do need to stay in an attitude of gratitude to lead the best possible lives for ourselves. Some people are the opposite. As Sebastian says in The Little Mermaid they live their lives thinking “the seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake.” They are never grateful for what is right under their nose and they are never satisfied with what they have. This is so sad and a very unhealthy way to live. It is difficult to be around these types of people as their negativity can really bring you down too if you allow it. Sometimes it takes pivotal life circumstances to help them truly see their blessings.
There was a funny story about two kids who rubbed limburger cheese in their grandfather’s mustache as he slept. When he woke up he said “This room smells!” As he walked through his house he said “This whole house smells!” When he walked outside to get some much needed fresh air he said “Wow, the whole world smells!” The moral of this story was it was him who had the issue, not the world. This is not unlike some people who have no willingness to see all their blessings. They are miserable and think the issue is with others but if they looked right under their nose, they would see that change begins with themselves and starting to acknowledge their blessings is a great place to start.
I have many body lotions and candles around the house. When my son was little he loved to smell these special little lotions, and small scented candles. He knew all the names and would take them to my mom’s house and have her smell them too. He had such an appreciation for something so small it was truly heartwarming. He would say things like “This is summer peach or this is vanilla cookie,” and “Doesn’t it smell awesome?” as he would light up with pleasure over each smelly treasure. I remember thinking how sweet it was that he thought something so simple was so special and interesting. I knew right then, I could really learn a lot from him in this area.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, what a perfect time to start focusing on what you do have over what you don’t. What little things are you most thankful for? My faith, family, friends, and career bring me great fulfillment and I am so blessed to have what I have in these areas. We all have areas of our lives that need changes or growth but no matter who we are, we still have many things to be thankful for as well. The Bible tells us to be thankful in all circumstances, not just the perfect or ideal circumstances. God wants us to cultivate an attitude of gratitude no matter what comes our way and He really does want to bless us out of His deep love and commitment to us. As the turkey is passed around the table this year, take a moment to really take it all in. Don’t let it become a ritual. Focus on those who are at your table and reflect upon God’s goodness to you this past year. Count your many blessings and be thankful! Little things really are some of life’s biggest blessings!
Until next time ~
Little Lesson Learned: A thankful heart for little things will really bless you and others.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014