Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Delighting in the Simple Things

"And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." ~Mattthew 10:42

There are so many little details to tend to when caring for young children.  Sometimes it is hard not to feel like the day has been lost in those little details.  Little meals require lots of little preparations, little diapers requiring lots of changes (E-Bear! How did you poop AGAIN?!  I just finished changing your third poopy of the day, and it isn't even naptime!), little hands need lots of holding, little games need lots of clean-up, little fights need lots of many little details of the day!

I confess there are days when I sigh at the seeming insignificance of what "little" I have accomplished in the day because of the little details I had to attend to.  It is interesting that the little details that are so import to my children don't always feel very important to me.  Do these things really require my attention?  Wouldn't my talents be better spent doing bigger, more "important" things?

Ironically, I find myself asking myself the same questions some days at the hospital.  Physicians spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades of our lives trying to learn the deepest scientific intricacies about lab tests, drugs, treatments, and procedures to help heal patients.  In the midst of trying to provide these healing measures, I have found that many of my patients are most concerned with details that I could have fulfilled for them well even before my pre-med years---feeling cold and needing another blanket, hungry because the hospital food didn't come, thirsty because of the medications they received, lonely because their family is gone for the day, sad because they are in pain.  Do these things really require my attention when I am trying to provide more complex treatments my patients need?  Sure they do.  They matter to my patients.  Because mysteriously, the importance of a detail isn't measured in its uniqueness, its complexity or how much we paid to learn it.  The simple details are important because that is where we spend most of our lives.

One of the hardest things to understand about God is how He can, on the one hand, rule the mighty Universe with infinite power and still keep account of the tiniest of details, like the number of hairs on our heads or what the sparrows will eat tomorrow. Our Lord is, at the same time, capable of the mightiest work, yet cares intimately about my hurt pride, a stubbed toe, or what happened to my neighbor's lost cat.  Yet, because of my lack of faith and perspective,  I can have trouble seeing the significance of the little details of life--I have trouble believing that I will be rewarded for taking time for seemingly "small" services in caring for my children and patients.

So, today let my perspective be different. Jesus, teach me to delight in the simple things.  As I strive to do everything with love, grant me the wisdom to see the significance of the little things and care for them with the same exquisite tenderness that you have for them.

"Do you aspire great things?  Begin with little ones.  You desire to erect a very high building?  Then think first of the foundation of humility."  

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