This afternoon I was scattered. You know when your mind is moving in a billion different directions at once, and you feel completely like you need to go hide in a very dark and quiet cave? Yeah.
One of the billion things floating around in my head was my need to get rid of some library stuff in order to avoid hefty fines - yet again. I didn't want to go out, but I eventually managed to talk myself into doing what I knew I should. I also went to the grocery store so my children wouldn't starve. (Bonus for me, I found some cheap chocolate while I was looking for supper. That was cause for rejoicing!)
When I finished my errands I went roaring home, and as I wearily stumbled out of the van I heard, "Mom! Mom! Come in here! You have to see what we did!!!!!!! But you can't walk through the dining room with your eyes open. We have to guide you." I can't even begin to describe the chaos the last time I heard that little mantra.
I could tell this was very important to them, so I summoned up some enthusiasm from somewhere and followed them into the house. The curly haired girl was clutching my hand and saying, "Don't peek. Don't peek."
When I heard, "Ta-da!" I opened my eyes to complete chaos, and suddenly realized that sometimes encouragement comes through totally unexpected circumstances. The picnic cloth totally covered the dining room floor. It was set with paper plates and cups and place cards with our names lovingly printed in fancy letters, draped with ribbons. The girls were standing there with expectant smiles on their faces.
"Look Mom, it's an indoor picnic!"
"It was all my idea," proudly announced the curly haired girl.
My exhaustion melted away. The mess didn't faze me. We ate cardboard pizza and played Uno for an hour. Then I started thinking about opportunities I have to encourage other people. I often have elaborate plans for deeds I'm going to accomplish. Mostly, those plans never get carried out. I keep forgetting that it's the small things that really matter. Small things like fancy letters and ribbons, and cardboard pizza on paper plates.
Helen Keller said, "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
Life's not about what noble task I'm going to accomplish some day. Some day will come in spite of my planning (or lack thereof). What really matters is who I am right now. At this minute. Am I loving the people around me? Am I kind? Am I treating them like I want to be treated in this minute? Or am I wrapped up in thinking of what is to come. If I'm not accomplishing these small tasks one at a time, I probably will not recognize the great and noble task when it arrives.