What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Today, at the start of a fresh week, I find myself still reflecting on some of the ideas from my last post. A close friend gave me the angel in the picture above. A paraphrase of Mother Teresa’s words is etched onto the bottom of the angel’s dress. When she gave it to me, my friend said that she’d chosen it because she knew that I sometimes question the weight and value of my life, and that she wanted to say that it all counts. It all matters. I put the angel up high on a shelf in my writing room, overlooking my desk. I have glanced up at her often and thought of my friend’s kind words, so needed and so graciously given.
I have many plans and dreams and goals, winged things inside me, striving for flight and presence in my everyday world. I have found myself turned inside out with a sense of being less than, not enough. I look at women who seem to have accomplished so much and I wonder what I can do to be more like them. Every moment I am filled with anxiety over what I should be doing. To do one thing means that I cannot do something else, and what if the something else is what I’m supposed to be doing instead?
For almost twenty years I have given myself to my home, and I have loved that. I still love it. I love caring for my garden and cooking meals for my family. It gives me pleasure to create a space in which the work of family can happen and grow, a place where we can learn to love each other better and welcome others into that circle of love. But I have been so preoccupied and troubled by the desire to expand my own territory, that I have been unable to enter fully into delight in these precious things. And with that has come a feeling of pressure on my writing, to find ways to make it profitable, to justify it and quantify its worth.
Over the past few days, I have come across words: from my husband, in blogs and quotes, and in the still, small voice of God. These words have begun to quiet my heart. They have reminded me that the small things I do with love, have value. It’s the “with love” part that I find most compelling. Today was filled with little things. I ran errands; I gave my son a driving lesson; I made calls and checked mails and put on the washing. In a moment I will head to the kitchen to finish cooking dinner. These things have so often been a source of anger for me; they’ve felt like roadblocks and obstacles to the “important” things. But today I was mindful that they are important. And that mindfulness has helped me to see the beauty in simple, mundane, everyday activities.