Small Things –
It’s the small things that get us. A careless word, a roll of the eye, an exasperated sigh, a forgotten date, a critical comment when kindness would be better.
I spoke to a group of men this week about the importance of body language. It is estimated that 80% of our communication is done through hand gestures, facial expressions, posture, animated arms, and legs. Often, before even a word is said, we’ve said plenty. The “vibe” we give off from the way we stand, cross our arms, refuse to make eye contact gives messages of distance, frustration, and anger. Whatever our chosen words may be we’ve begun a conversation simply by being in the presence of others.
Small things can encourage or discourage dialogue. Tiny twitches can mean the difference between hurting someone’s feelings and lifting them up. Miniature motions can give away our opinion of another prior to us getting to know them.
I watched a video this week of a woman pontificating on Hillary Clinton and the rumor of the former presidential candidate. Her words were sharp and judgemental and her body language said even more. The spark of sarcasm in her eyes, the shaking of her head, the impish smirk, almost everything about her spoke of her disapproval. Toward the end of the video she spoke of love, forgiveness, and grace but nothing about her showed true humility, one sinner telling another where to find grace.
“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last week, while mowing the grass, I ran over a large rock and bent one of the blades. I could tell something was wrong by the sound of metal rubbing against metal. On Thursday, with two newly purchased blades in hand, I replaced the old blades. When I took the old ones off I was shocked by how beat up, worn down, twisted and broken they were. I had noticed the last few weeks the lawn wasn’t cut as cleanly and evenly as it should be but had no sense the blades were in that bad of shape. After I had the new ones firmly affixed to the mower I took them out for a test spin. The difference was incredible! The yard looks better today than it has in a long time.
As I finished up mowing I reflected upon the fact that all of the damage done to the blades hadn’t been done by a single rock. The mower’s manual says I should regularly check and sharpen them to ensure their effectiveness but it’s easier to just turn the mower on, start cutting and settle for mediocrity.
Wisdom teaches us that we too need to set aside extra time to keep ourselves sharp, clean, balanced and whole.
Too often we wear ourselves out, do our best to keep going with broken, damaged, unstable lives and sooner or later it shows. Setting aside extended moments, seasons and occasions to repair and recover from the damages life can bring is essential to love, serve and fulfill our purpose.