One of the awesome things about my generation is that we grew up being told we could go anywhere, be anything, and do it all.
And one of the awful things about my generation is that we grew up being told we could go anywhere, be anything, and do it all.
Because sometimes when you’re told you can do something, it starts to feel like you have to.
There are so many countries to visit, so many academic programs to choose from, so many opportunities to start something, create something, make something of yourself.
In all of the striving to go, be, and do, I wonder if we lose the steadfast value of the simple and the everyday.
Last week I had dinner with my grandparents, and the conversation turned to Bible studies. I asked how long they had been in theirs.
Over twenty years, they said.
And the one before that, eighteen years.
A combined total of close to forty years of studying the Bible with a group of people, but also forty years of bringing meals, of showing up when someone is sick or has had surgery, of talking through difficulties in faith and parenting or grandparenting and marriage and work.
That is a kind of simple, steadfast dedication I know very little of. It has nothing to do with going, being, and doing it all, and everything to do with staying. Showing up, month after month, year after year, even when you’d probably rather quit when things get messy and hard and wearisome.
There is very little, if any, flash or sparkle to sticking with something. Movies don’t get made about people who invest in the small good work of showing up at their manufacturing job each day for twenty seven years, or who bring meal after meal to people celebrating new babies, or who live in the same neighborhood for their entire adult life and build relationships with each neighbor as they come and wave goodbye as they go.
These are not big, or glamorous, or grandiose actions.
But they still matter.
Sometimes I get down on myself when I hear of what other people my age are doing. They’re saving women from being trafficked, starting organizations to bring people water, making movies and writing books and winning contests and being called “Ones to Watch.”
I don’t do any of those things.
But I’m fighting to believe that the small, simple acts of showing up, of sticking with people and things when they get difficult, matter anyway.
Maybe these simple things are not shaking the foundations of the earth, but they are still building something good.
Til next time…
p.s. Will you share a story of someone you know who does small things that matter?