Spacers Between Kingdom Tiles

A little over a week ago Megan, on a Sunday's whim, scribbled down a few of the small, fleeting things that are the delicate pattern of beauty in her life. Little things: little things that somehow matter. Indi, the main character of my published work The Shadow Things, reflects on the problem of the little things:

"Surely there is something that brings the rain and the dry," he said to a little ant toiling by his foot. "Look, even you find food to eat. Who watches over you? Surely not the gods. They are almost too busy and unfeeling to care for us, and when they touch us, it is to kill us."

Who cares about the little things? Who makes the little things that are the exquisite backdrop of our lives? God does, whose power keeps the paradox of the atom from flying all to pieces, whose finger inscribes the invisible lines between the stars. God does, and Megan took the time on a Sunday's whim to chart out some of the little things in her life. It was a treat to read, as I am sure it was a treat to write; she invited others to scribble down a list of their own little things as well. I thought...well, perhaps I might.

Perhaps I might. I felt uneasy, as though I were borrowing her thunder. But I kept thinking about it, dutiful, ever anxious to enjoy myself since I thought this would be an enjoyable exercise of the mind. And then a strange revelation broke slowly over me. Do you remember, as a child, how large everything seemed to you? A single turkey seemed to me a positive ostrich, towering and grotesque, intent on running me off the dirty tract of farm and pecking my hair out. Dogs were like ponies. Ponies were like elephants (I remember the horrified twist in my gut when I was made to trot in my first horse-back riding lesson). When you are a child, everything breaks on your vision as enormous.

And it still does that to me.

I almost hate to do this exercise because it will peel back all my cool, demure layers (which really are a part of me) and get down to that inner core where, let's face it, I'm still just a child. Andrew Peterson sings about the window in the world: have you ever wondered what the window itself feels? Maybe like being run through, run through and broken up on and rattled and overwhelmed and at the same time trying to channel all that goodness... I look at autumn like a man newly stepped onto an undiscovered planet. Every autumn. Every autumn a new planet. Nothing is little. Every cup of tea is a fresh cup of amber. Everything is like living stained glass through which the genius of Christ's light is shining around me. Nothing is little. So how do I remember the little things? Every sharp detail, every piece of mosaic, every thread I can pinch between my fingers that is woven into my life, is enormous. I'm such a child. Here are some of my enormous little things.

  • catching a fresh breeze in my face
  • the Kingdom
  • seeing the sunset rays streaming over the clouds
  • my sister telling me "I love you" when I am upset
  • the hello-goodbye kisses from my mother and father
  • my husband kissing my hand, or ruffling my hair
  • writing a passage so that it rings true
  • discovering the narratives of the Scriptures coming to life before my mind's eye
  • my father's teaching
  • holding a conversation in quotes from books and movies with my family
  • my mother's cooking
  • my sister-in-law's desserts
  • wearing my husband's sweaters
  • finding letters in the mailbox from my friends
  • Uncle Raymond laughing at me
  • the worlds inside my head - fells and dales, downs, river valleys, seashores, farms and quiet streets...
  • Rhodri
  • candle-flame
  • the colour of a blue jay's coat
  • the autumn cry of Canadian geese
  • the little red light that lives far down in a glass of wine
  • the surf-sound of the wind in the trees
  • the giddiness and sudden seriousness of the Tenth Doctor
  • the sound of waves falling, lulling me to sleep
  • Sunday
  • going to cut down and put up my parents' Christmas tree
  • apple-picking
  • when only my husband 'gets' what I mean (fiery horses)
  • the pile of coats on my parent's coat-rack Saturday evenings when we all visit
  • feeling the living throb of my church through my spirit
  • opening Christmas presents with my throwing-knife
  • lying awake Christmas morning, as much a child as ever with excitement
  • seeing a constellation I know
  • smelling woodsmoke
  • Wednesday afternoon walks
  • my morning cup of tea

These are the colours and brush-strokes that make up my world.

6 ripostes:

  1. This is a lovely list, Jenny, thank you for deciding to do it. :D I need to make one of my own now...

  2. Ah, Jenny. It's like rays of misted sunlight piercing through a dismal day, reading this. (And you may borrow my thunder all you like. I shan't ask for it back.)

    "Nothing is little". That was a ray of piercing sunlight, if you like. It's a thrilling thing to realise, and a hard thing to remember, that all these "little" moments are bigger on the inside. They're like mirrors. You can step into them, if you care to.

    Also, you know this, but... it is a rare and excellent thing to have a childlike soul. Souls so often want to grow up too soon, all pragmatic and hard and probable like a reverse Peter Pan; and that's not to be stood for. (I'm glad you never stood for it.)

  3. -Making obscure references that no one else gets ("The world's a mess, and I just... need to rule it.").

    -Music that infiltrates my soul.

    -Wit and pith and economy of phrase ("Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.").

    -Suddenly seeing "all things worked together for good" snap into crystal focus.

    -Called strike three on a perfectly placed slider on the outside corner.

    -A mug of strong coffee and a pipe of strong tobacco and feeling the warmth from each seep through my gloves into my fingers.

  4. This was a lovely post, one that called to mind all the little things I cherish in life as well. They're all gifts from our good Father, and it is a blessing to receive them with a child-like heart. :)

  5. "Sometimes," said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

    Pooh always does know how to say it best.


  6. I "loved" this post and very much enjoyed this post. And really, I was thinking as I read this post, I miss you all there and all the fun crazyness. Visits are such treats. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. That is all.