When I was young I wanted to be something great, something grand to change something in the world. We’re all looking to be destined for great things, but will we all be called to do so? I highly doubt it. Going to college was a decision I made based off this idea. Quitting college was also based off this idea. I eventually didn’t want to limit myself to just one great thing as I had so many wonderful ideas rolling in my head, and alas I did nothing. It really is sad to think back on that time of my life.
I settled for a job that was okay, but after a few years and not being able to support myself completely, I realized how pathetic it all was. That job left me feeling the world was generally selfish and bad. People were out to get others to promote themselves. Respect was a word that was lost long ago. I was slowly digging a whole into this pit of despair. Thankfully, though, it lead me to a better job.
I found a job at a school for students with Autism through a customer at said job above. I had no idea what to expect, but I soon took a leap of faith. I would not be where I am now without that leap, and that job has made a lasting impact on my life to this day. I envision myself working there again someday, because I’ve never found anything like it since. What was so great about it? I found my happiness once more, I saw respect where there usually is none, I saw the good in everyone around me (coworkers and students), and everywhere I turned someone was always helping someone through something. I found out again, the world was generally good.
This specific school isn’t well known, the work I did there didn’t feel grand (at the time), and my day was filled with so much “little stuff” it flew by quick as lightning. I would work side by side with one student. My students were typically non-verbal and slightly aggressive. My sole purpose was to assist these children in finding their way in the world. I attempted to teach students to how to control their impulses. My job required teaching toiletry and self-care skills. I helped with therapies for speech, physical, and occupational. Some days were success after success, and other days were not even close, but the beauty was there all the same. These little things made me feel like there was purpose in the mundane.
I also began to change my heart. It softened even more than I expected. Who I was growing up as a child, a teenager, a college student did not matter anymore. I was coming into a new me. I recognized differences in others without feeling threatened. I saw love in the simplest gestures (again from coworkers and students). Long story short, I couldn’t wait to get to work the next day, regardless of what the outcome could be. I loved what it was doing to me.
Fast forward to today, a day when I’ve cleaned up a million messes, folded laundry for six people, made meals three times, worked on letters and numbers with my children, read to those nuggets for almost an hour, played taxi to my gymnastics kiddos, potty trained an almost two year old, played on the floor with the baby, wiped up spills more times than I wish to think about, took out the trash, got everyone down for naps again, worked on my photography, wrote a few blog posts, checked in with some family, and the list goes on and on. On days like these, it is easy to wonder why bother with any of it? Why worry about my child’s development, no one else is. Why bother with contacting family, they can call me if they’re available. Why clean up the messes so often, no one is coming over today. Why bother?
I bother because it is the little things that make a difference in this world. This is only one of my grand adventures, and it is grand only through my small acts. Maybe no one cares, but me, however I will still be proud because I’m setting an example to my children. I teach my children through the little things and they contribute to this world, and even more so in the future.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s words make my heart soar when she said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
The little things really do matter. It isn’t just my little things in my particular family in this part of the world. Everyone has something little, or several somethings, to contribute to the grand scheme of it all. Your small things won’t always look the same as everyone else’s but that doesn’t make a difference. It is those little actions we “have” to do for someone else, to get to a resting place, or just our daily grind. They’ll seem insignificant most of the time, but I promise they’re not. All those little things add up. Mine molded me slowly and steadily. I saw it after working at the school for Autism, and I see it again now, as a mother with a life no one else has to be concerned with, because there is no need for their concern.
All those little things….
I’ve learned to really appreciate the little things.