Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year of Small Things

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Little drops of water,
little grains of sand,
make the mighty ocean
and the beauteous land.

And the little moments,
humble though they may be,
make the mighty ages
of eternity.

Little deeds of kindness,
little words of love,
make our earth an Eden,
like the heaven above.

So our little errors
lead the soul away,
from the paths of virtue
into sin to stray.

Little seeds of mercy
sown by youthful hands,
grow to bless the nations
far in heathen lands.

Glory then for ever
be to God on high,
beautiful and loving,
to eternity.

- Julia Carney

I had to memorize the first two verses of this poem when I was about three years old - which means I've never been able to forget them since. :P 
It's funny, though, that even though this poem might seem rather corny, it's true. And looking back on 2012, it's really been hitting me over and over again how IMPORTANT the little things are. 

A tiny detail, so easy to miss in the 81 pages of my "How to Fill Out the AAMCAS Instructions," that could cause weeks - months - of delays later. 
(Very thankful I caught that particular one!)

A single false line in a drawing, making the whole picture look wrong.
(Strange, how the human eye is immediately drawn to mistakes.)

A little note, so easy to send, but so vital to keeping up relationships that otherwise simply disappear. 
(Believe me, it's awkward to ask for a reference from someone you haven't spoken to in 3 years. Don't let people disappear out of your life!)

A momentary lapse in keeping track of your bank account, resulting in mega-overdraft fees. 
(*cringe* Though not so many as I was expecting. Still, it was painful. :P)

A few extra calories every day, adding up to several extra pounds before you know it.
(:P So not fair... at least my college has a great exercise facility... now if I could just force myself to use it a couple times a week... ;)

These are rather negative examples, true... but it works the same way for good things. God has also been showing me the value of persistance, and how simply being faithful in the small things can mean so much later.

One step might seem like it does nothing, but if you keep walking, pretty soon you've gone a couple miles.
(Yay exercise. :P lol)

One comment on a blog might do nothing, but if you keep commenting, pretty soon you'll have a friend. 
(Blog friends are awesome. XD)

One conversation might seem unimportant, but it could change someone's life.
(Working on my personal statement for AAMCAS - it's weird to look back and realize what things brought me to where I am today.)

One minute, such a short amount of time, yet one that can be used in such important ways.
(60 minutes = 1 hour, and it's amazing what can be accomplished by an hour's serious studying!)

Speaking of the above.... When I started college, I went "I have too many things to memorize!!!" and, since I was gone while my siblings worked on their memory work, I pretty much... stopped memorizing scripture. But His Word I need to have written on my heart, and this year there were quite a few verses on my heart that I really wanted to spend some time learning. 

So I printed them off my computer, put them in a plastic folder, and stuck them in the shower. 
I don't care how little time you think you have, you're going to take a shower at least several times a week - and in all seriousness, what else is there to do while you wash your hair? (Okay, sing, but... you do know the water doesn't cover up your voice, right? ;) It's so easy to simply let your mind drift for those 5-10 minutes, but think of what you could be doing! I kicked myself for not doing it earlier, and then started memorizing.

My little sister and I had some gift-cards for Cold Stone Creamery, and I told her if she did a chapter with me, I'd take her there to use them... so we memorized Colossians 1 together. (Love that chapter! :) I then started memorizing a few verses from Zephaniah, then some from Isaiah, and now I'm starting on some from 2 Corinthians. All I'm doing is using the time I already spend every week!
That was one aspect of little things this year.

Another was simply working on getting to know the people in my classes. Do you know how easy it is for an introvert like myself to rush to class late, slip in and out, sit on the side, and never talk to anyone in class? I've done it before. :P This semester I decided not to do that. And I actually met or got to know better between 1 and 4 people in every one of my classes. I brought cookies to a couple classes the week before finals... and ended the semester with several people telling me I would be a good doctor, one adding that the semester had shown her I was really a genuine person. :)

 Finally, something that kind of slammed me upside the head just this past week. I was doing something this week... a question popped into my head... and being me, I up and googled it. Couldn't find an answer, couldn't find answer anywhere... but somehow I ended up on a testimony given to the US Senate on the horrors of North Korea by a survivor from one of their prison camps. I shouldn't have read it... and I barely did, just skimmed it. That was plenty enough and far too much. 
It's one thing to read about the Holocaust, or about the Japanese Occupation of Korea, or about slavery in the United States, things that ended long ago. It's completely another to read about something that is happening right now, every day, to people living (or, dying) right now as I read it. 
It was just a bit overwhelming, especially because it made me stop and think of all the horrors the world over, from abortion to children in the Lord's Resistance Army. So much awfulness is happening... and what exactly can I do about it? Even if one person is far more powerful than we usually stop to realize (think William Wilberforce), there is no way one person could do something about them all. 
It's just too much. 

That feeling stayed with me through the night and into the next day. Then I went to ride my horse... and stopped and talked with a friend. Among other things, one of her cats died on Christmas Eve, an older relative died on Christmas night, her husband is sick and having heart trouble, and she, besides being sick herself and also having massive headaches from breaking her neck a few years ago, is going in for surgery today for returning cancer. 
Too. Much.

But I stuck around and helped her do barn chores. And as I put horses in their stalls and fed them, I realized that was all I could do right now. Little things, yes. But it's making a difference where I can. Right now. Helping with something I know how to do. Making one person feel even just fractionally better. I don't know when I'll be able to do big things, or how big those things will be. But so long as I can do something... I can do it joyfully. I can be an encouragement to those around me, can make their work less, their day brighter. 

There are so many people with so many blessings... if you're reading this post, I imagine you are someplace warm and dry, with food, water, internet access, and a computer. And how much more than that do most of us have? I think if we all decided to change the world, we could not help but get somewhere. I know sin and the wretched awfulness it brings will continue until Jesus returns - but that is no reason not to fight it. How can we sit idly by, when He came that we might have abundant life? How can we just take that abundant life and the incredible blessings we have been given, and close our eyes to those suffering around us?  To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. has been running through my mind over and over again lately. 

In 2012 I may not have done anything earth-shattering. But small things need not be despised - there are small good things I know to do and that I can do. To not do them, to not do anything, because all there is to do seems overwhelming, is sin. Jesus Christ has overcome the world. All I need do is whatever task he has placed before me, however small or large it may appear to be.
 And hopefully the small things I have done this year have prepared me for whatever next year holds. 

5 thoughts shared:

Jessica Greyson said...

Amen to this Katherine! Amen and amen!!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!


Vicki said...

Interesting - you are not the only blog friend of mine to post on this theme of "small things" for New Year's Eve. It's a terribly convicting area for me, because it's exactly where I fail - I can handle the big things, the dramatic life-changing things; but when it comes to something as simple as choosing how to spend my five minutes of down time, I fail miserably.

This is my New Year's resolution - to make each minute count for the Lord. It's a huge resolution and something I can't do on my own, but thanks to your encouragement, I want to try!

I'll be praying for you, my friend! I hope this new year is the greatest you've ever had!!


P.S. That is an AWESOME idea to put your memory verses in the shower - I want to do this ASAP!! :-D :-D :-D

Katherine Sophia said...

Thank you, Jessica! :)

Exactly, Vicki... it's those little 5 minute breaks that slip past me soooo easily, and that I've been trying to work on. :P My older brother used to have a watch that said Redeeming the time on its face... I kind of wish I could get one for myself.
Thank you for your prayers - I hope the same for you and will be praying as you work on that resolution!!!
:D And I don't remember who gave me that idea, but it's been wonderful! Though I've noticed if I don't seal it perfectly the paper will mold really quickly. :P Yay for tape... ;)

Miss Melody Muffin said...

It is not even funny how behind I am on commenting....

We had to write that poem for penmanship one week. Funny how those verses stick with you.

Ooh, the tiny but most important details!

I agree, hurray for blogging friends! If I hadn't started blogging, I never would have met you!

Oh, yes, us introverts. I'm pretty good at superficial conversations and just smiling and nodding to people. When it comes to anything deeper than small talk... uh, not so good. I tend to hold people off, and just watch, not participate. Something I'm working on changing this year.

Beautiful post, Katherine!!!

Katherine Sophia said...

:P Oh, I've got a whole PILE of posts I want to commented on, Melody. It really is sad. :P

And yes! I've met such amazing people through blogging and you made my 2012 just that much more lovely! XD

Gah, I know...Watching. I do it all the time. I enjoy it, I find it amusing,'s easy. :P And I love diving in to deeper stuff if someone else starts it! But that bit in between "Hi, How are you?" and "What are your deepest, most important dreams?"...that's the part I never seem to get through. :P But yup, I'm working on it. :)

Thank you! XD


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