Too small was never something I thought I would feel – it’s not something that I feel comfortable sitting in, because the majority of us are scared of small. We’ve been taught to believe that everything we do needs to be big. We’re scared of the living breathing relationships right in front of us because we’ve been conditioned to want big often at the expense of personal. Our culture thrives off big. Big is sexy. big means important. If you’re not doing something big you have yet to arrive.
Lately I’ve been hearing so many stories of heartbreak. Stories that rip your heart out and lay it on the table for spectacle. In these stories I’ve felt paralyzed, I’ve felt too small.
I get anxious about feeling small – about not being seen, about not being the one to fix the world’s heartache. In a dream world I’d like to be the person that gives everyone a shoulder to cry on, I’d like to hear every sad story, I’d like to be everyone’s go to person, and I don’t feel that I’m too bold in saying that I’m not alone in wanting to be that.
A few weeks ago I sat on the couch with my boss and I cried. Tears for the things that need to be done and the frustration of feeling like I have so few cards to play. Feeling as though my voice doesn’t hold much weight – I’m just a student who watches Gilmore girls in my free time – who’s listening to me? I cried tears over being a person with passion and feeling anything but heard.
I cried tears of frustration over the systems of oppression that I undeservedly benefit from. Tears for young men in this country who live in fear and tears for women who are trapped in slavery all over the world. Why them and not me?
As we sat on her couch she spoke words over me – she reminded me the importance of playing the cards we have – no matter how small we feel our voice is in the moment. She talked about the importance of waiting for God’s timing but also loving people thoroughly every day. She exemplifies living love out as far as her arms can reach. She fights to reach farther because she knows that loving people well & respecting them is a form of justice. She speaks because she knows there are things that deserve to be talked about and spoken over people even if there are only a few listening. She speaks because she knows that no matter how loud her voice is what she’s saying matters.
Love isn’t a grand show but rather it’s trying to live each day a little kinder and a little more like Jesus. I know that my arms can’t reach all the people right now, and possibly ever. But I’m learning the beauty of doing everything with a little bit more love. This is not to say that we can’t have love for all the people—we are built to love all the people. But so often we get too caught up in loving the big picture & the idea of justice that we stop loving the humans right in front of us.
I’m asking you to sit in this with me for a bit. To consider the nitty-gritty and the ugly of what it looks like to love the people within our arms reach. To be the shoulder someone can cry on even when it doesn’t sound fun. To love people in their ugliest moments & to choose to stay even when there’s no one to see it. To see how we’re loving others when life hits the fan and loving suddenly isn’t just a pretty concept but asks for real sacrifice. And when we fail (which I often do) how are we choosing to pick back up and love more deeply? How are we choosing to stay, and how are we using our voices to speak out?
I want to leave with the over-used but very powerful & true words of Mother T., that came back into my mind yesterday and caused me to finally get my words and convictions to paper: “Small things with great love.” Sometimes the cards we have to play are just to love those around us better and to speak out – and how beautiful that we’ve got such a job?