Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes, I get caught up in paying bills, spills on the carpet, kids arguing, broken garage doors. You know, all of the mundane, day-to-day stuff we all face. Lots of times this stuff gets the best of me, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and underequipped to deal with the inanity--or insanity--depending on the day.

Then something happens to make me remember how small all of these things are in the grand scheme of life. I remember that at the end of my life, God is not going to judge me on the condition of my carpets, and my kids aren't going to remember what they were arguing about. What will matter is how much I loved those bickering children and how well I was able to make it through my days with kindess, compassion, and integrity.

This morning, as I walked Lily into preschool, one of the little boys said, "Lily!" I smiled, not realizing the magnitude of this seemingly small feat. Lily's class is a mix of "traditional" and "special needs" children, and the little boy, who so clearly spoke her name, doesn't speak. Ever. I could barely hold myself together until I got in the car, and then I cried the whole way home. So many times, I've wanted to tear my hair out when my kids argued, and yet this child's mother had never gotten to hear his sweet voice.

And so it goes. This morning, I am contemplating the mortality of our 12-year-old cat, Angelo. It makes me sad. He is Chloe's best friend and such a big part of our family. He is lethargic and weak, and I am taking him to the vet this afternoon, where I hope they will tell me it's something easily fixable, but I fear otherwise. This starts to overwhelm me. Then I think of my dear friend, who is sitting at the Cleveland Clinic for the second time in a month with her son. Strong and steadfast and never complaining, just always taking care of her little boy and being a great mom. She inspires me and makes me want to be a better mom.

Last week, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with some really great people from my past. Spending time with them, seeing how they have grown and changed since we all worked together years ago, revitalized my view of humanity. So often we focus on shortcomings--our own and others'. Yet, I looked at this woman, who took her negative work experiences and said, "I can do better." And she did! Started her own company, where she values her clients and employees, and facilitates a work environment centered on service, integrity, and oh yeah, fun. She inspires me and makes me try harder and dream bigger.

So, on this first day of the month of thanksgiving, I give thanks for the wonderful people who float into my life for reasons, seasons, and lifetimes, always bringing a lesson and always leaving an imprint on my heart.

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