GK Chesterton tells the story of a teenage boy granted one wish by a genie. “Do you wish to be huge or tiny?”
We are all swayed by the appeal of being big, strong and powerful. So, no surprise, the boy chose huge.
The outcome was predictable: in a few hours, the boy was bored. Because of his size, he walked around the world in only a few steps. Scaled the largest mountains. Like any child 30 minutes after the presents are opened, “Is that all there is?”
You see, Chesterton goes on to say, only “tiny people” can celebrate and enjoy life.
Yes. Blessed are the meek…
“Tiny people” have nothing to prove, no score to settle and, blessedly, no one to impress.
Tiny people approach each day, not from power, or the need to dominate, or defeat, but from respect.
Tiny people are fueled by gratitude and the freedom to receive grace and the freedom to let that grace spill.
Here’s the deal: tiny people see God incognito in the everyday stuff of life. They savor simple pleasures. They live in a world soaked in grace, even in a world where pain and hatred are real.
But somewhere along the way to adulthood, something gums up the system. In everyone’s life, during life’s low points, our inner fire goes out. In my case, more than once. And I was sure being “tiny” wasn’t the answer.
Gratefully, I continue to learn. To find success (which we equate with some version of being powerful or huge) doesn’t necessarily mean that you gain health.
Even so, we go about our merry and hectic way, accumulating and weighing, measuring and posturing, hoping that the balance sheet of life judges us with kindness. Until that one day when you look into the mirror and ask yourself, “Why?” and you decide then and there to set about reclaiming that which has been lost—namely, you. Yes, the tiny you…
Plato reminds us, “What is honored will be cultivated.”
And in our world full of heartbreak and agony and despair, I am grateful for the two life-giving invitations honored with this story.
One. The permission to live from sufficiency and not scarcity. Fueled by the lure or need to be huge, we live out the Eagles’ song, “Now, it seems to me some fine things, Have been laid upon your table, But you only want the ones that you can’t get.”
Without an agenda, the boy in the story sees and celebrates and savors sufficiency (meaning affluence); treasuring the sacred in the very ordinary and in the wonderfully mundane.
Treasuring the permission to be here now. Yes. The invitation to savor to this day, to be nourished by wonder, delight and awe. And this matters: even if the moment invites sorrow or heartache or grief, we can still bring our whole heart, to honor the life being lived here. Yes, the gift of enough.
It is no surprise that we are tempted by bigger or biggest. We live in a world that “honors” bigger and powerful people, or whatever it means to win.
And it is no surprise that we don’t trust small or tiny, sadly hiding or shutting down those parts of our heart that are vulnerable and soft and tender.
So. Let us pause, and remember: this is not an assignment. This is a gift. An invitation, pure and simple. An invitation to be front row and center to this sacred moment, this sacred life, wholehearted. And the portal to this invitation is gratitude.
I can tell you that the power of tiny has a special place in my heart, grounded in my rituals over this past year. On my morning walk, I love stopping, noticing, pointing and smiling big… and taking pictures of tiny delights. Tiny sufficiencies. Moments I would easily walk, or rush by, and miss. Yes, the tiny delights that transform our tiredness, into moments soaked in grace. (Thank you Jenneth Graser.)
I love Eleonora Duse’s affirmation, “If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
Two. As long as our culture worships at the altar of bravado and swagger, we live disconnected. When we are afraid to be tiny, or humble or meek, we live paranoid and anxious. I loved this article about Pope Francis, called the “Anti-Strongman.” That faith is less about the use of power to shape the social order—the stuff of present strongmen and past popes—than about straightforward efforts of kindness and generosity, the gifts that spill from a heart glad to be alive. Spill, from the tiny.
I do talk about spilling the light, but I know that it is easy to let the bushel baskets of life extinguish the flame. I’ve been asked, “So how do you get rid of these baskets—distractions, expectations, shoulds? What’s the formula?”
That’s just it; I don’t have one. Which is not a good sales technique I admit. But what if we learn the lesson of the boy in the story; that our wealth (our abundance–in relationships, wonder, gratitude, delight) comes when we live, or let spill, what is already inside of each of us—the tiny gifts soaked in grace… A smile, a tender or healing touch, a life-giving song, a listening ear, a gentle hand, a gesture of empathy, a kind word, a hand to lift someone up, a compassionate hug. The tiny gifts that do our heart good. The tiny gifts that make our world a better place.
On Saturday, a good time (on Zoom) with CSJ (Congregation of St. Joseph) Associates. Our topic? Where are we replenished—emotionally and spiritually hydrated?
And the geese were back for a wee bit this weekend. Haven’t seen them in a while. I was glad, and stopped and chatted. Told them I had forgotten that I was the pastor of church of snowbirds. Just saying’
And I hope you enjoyed Saturday’s Hunter’s moon (with Jupiter dazzling the sky nearby). Called Hunter’s moon because old herbalists would typically gather in herbs and seeds at the time of the full moon to assure maximum strength and viability.
And let us continue to remember, and send our hearts, to those now overwhelmed with the toll of war. We pray for peace.
Quote for your week…
“Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.” Michael P. Watson
Today’s Photo Credit: “Hi Terry, Sending you one of my favorite fall pictures that I took this weekend overlooking Lake Onalaska, in Onalaska WI. I love how still and reflective this is. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share.” Sue Sieger… Thank you Sue… And thank you to all, I love your photos… please keep sending them… send to terryhershey.com
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Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
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Letters that do my heart good…
–Hi Terry, So beautiful, so wise, so profound and so true! Thank you for this and for your Sabbath Moments and your spiritual guidance and inspiration. I love them, need them, cherish them, thank you so much Terry! And I just ordered three of your books, can’t wait to get them them and read them!
–Thank you, Terry. Your Sabbath Moments always speak to me. This one is especially meaningful and helpful as I, and all of us, walk through a troubled world. The light we shine is so desperately needed! I’ll be asking the question, “ Do you want to be helped, heard, or hugged?” more often. Your words help me stay grounded, centered, and at peace. Thank you. Helen
–I certainly appreciate your time , effort, and amazing grace shown toward “all”. It helps me get through my days and nights many times. D
–I’m giving you my daily thank you for sharing your thoughts to help us live in the real world. Mary
–In a world struggling with itself, I find peace and hope and courage in your posts. I have copied down many quotes from you in my journal. I also love quotes you share from others, my latest is this week’s weekly prayer from John O’Donohue. I keep that in my mind as I go through this day. Thank you and blessings. Mary
–Thank you for guiding me to Andy Grammer and his video. I’d never heard him before. I’m 90 and listen to other long-gone artists. Plus I’m not very computer savvy, so I first clicked on his video switching back and forth from loved ones in the hospital to him sitting on edge of very tall building. After watching that, I clicked on the video of him with the students. Wonderful song and super way for starting my day. Again, thank you, Terry. In Christ’s Love, Mary Louise
–Good Monday morning, Terry, Thank you so much for sharing the video and song, “One Day”. Tears running down my face, smile on my lips. One Day, please Lord, let there be Peace. Blessings on your day, week, and ministry. Kay
POEMS AND PRAYERS
you who love me into being each moment,
let me this day flow freely with that love,
for it is not my love I give but yours.
I seek in all and above all to love,
to appreciate, to forgive,
to encourage, to comfort,
to thank, to assist, to bless.
May I choose to be loving
rather than to be right,
to be gentle rather than tough,
to be curious rather than judging,
to meet all with reverence and humility and delight.
And with those whom I cannot love easily,
let me hold and protect with all my being
room for you to love them, even through me.
O Spirit of Love, you who love me infinitely and perfectly,
breathe your love in me.
Prayer for a Country Called War
Every time you kiss your children,
Remember those who have lost theirs.
Every time you take a sip of water,
Remember those who have no food, no drink.
Every time you call your parents,
Remember those who have no way of knowing if their loved ones are alive or dead.
Every time you flick on a light switch,
Remember those who have no power.
Every time you look up to a sunny or cloudy sky,
Remember those for whom it rains only missles.
Every time you lie down for a peaceful sleep,
Remember those for whom life is only a long, treacherous night,
For whom safety is an unreachable mirage.
Every time you write out your address,
Remember those who live in a country called War.
There is no way to wrap our arms all the way around the globe.
But let us try.
Let us try.