Just after SLUH started Christmas break, one of my students sent me a Vine video of a little girl at the grocery story with her mom. The girl is holding a bundle of atrocious, glittery, golden pinecones perched atop thin little sticks, clearly an attempt at a classy Christmas adornment (though what one does with such a decoration, I can’t quite say). The little girl says to her mom, “I care about you. Here are some pinecones on a stick. They’re lovely.” After watching the video I first wondered where on Earth my students find the time to track down such things (then I remembered how few of them do the homework I assign), and then, dare I say it? I felt just a wee bit warm and fuzzy inside.
I care about you.
It wasn’t much, this six-second video of a little girl holding chintzy Christmas ornaments. It was just a little thing really. But I’m beginning to recognize that real, everyday life is rarely ever about the big things: about promotions and new houses and weddings and graduations and moves from one city to the next. Surely, such things separate one era of life from another, but on a daily, experiential basis it’s not my Job or my House or my Degree or even my Hometown that is at the forefront of my attention or foremost on my heart. It’s really those little things.
The little things are daily gifts that give life its color and texture and feeling. Recently home in Denver for Christmas break, I was reminded of the little things that I don’t get to experience so much in St. Louis: a windshield’s-worth of mountains, Golden Retriever hair on everything, the distinctive manner of sneezing that my mom and sister share, watching The Tonight Show (which we just call “Jimmy”) with my dad, a good night’s rest in my bed. All these little things together are Home. But the little things aren’t limited to Home or any other place. They were waiting for me at 9 Lawn when I arrived back in St. Louis this morning, too. They were Chick-fil-A mints and a warm radiator and a view of Forest Park and poetry written on the windows of my room with Expo marker.
This year I am giving to ASC, and everything that is preparing to come after it, can be overwhelming and intimidating when viewed on the Big Things level. What I’m Doing With My Life and Where I’ll End Up and Who I’ll Be Doing It All With are too big to figure out just yet. My aunt put this in perspective for me over coffee and omelets not too long ago. She said people often tell others to take life one day at a time, but that even a day can seem too big sometimes. So she said to take it one minute at a time, and I agree. One minute, one six-second video, one little thing at a time.