The Sanctity of Simple Things

Teach us delight in simple things. Rudyard Kipling

As I’ve written before, I’ve battled depression for several years. Mostly, it’s under control because of my medication, exercise, periodic visits to a counselor, family support, and other things I try to make a part of daily life.

One of those “helps” is being grateful for the small miracles that happen every day. Depression can be a black cloud looming over my head, and noticing everyday wonders has helped poke holes in the clouds to let God’s grace shine through.

Case in point: a day last spring, which I recorded in my journal—not because of its hugeness, but because of the little things that made it wonderful.

On that particular day, I ached with tiredness and I had run out of my anti-depressants over the weekend and had to wait to get more. (My depression is always worse when I’m tired.) Jordan, Carey and I were also fighting spring sniffles, which made us all a little testy.

But it was a bright, cloudless afternoon, and Carey decided to mow our backyard, since its height could have concealed a small car. Jordan helped Carey clean up the toys and play tools strewn about in the back yard. He even put on a half-face mask like Carey, who has to be careful with his allergies when he does yard work. I watched from the table and chairs on the patio, journal and Dr. Pepper beside me.

Then sleepy Jordan asked me if he could have his sleeping bag and put it in his clubhouse so he could “west.”

Pretty soon, my four year-old prince was curled up on his blue and yellow bag, arm around his stuffed frog, fast asleep. No doubt he had been lulled by the sun, the hum of the mower and the frequent birdsong.

And instead of aching with tiredness and gloominess, I began to ache with love and joy and thankfulness. In our small corner of the universe, I was suddenly bursting with gratitude for small miracles—and large ones. For sniffly boys who sleep contentedly in clubhouses, for hardworking daddies who care for exhausted mommies, for the red bird that kept circling the yard, for blue skies—and for peace.

In that moment, the sanctity of simple things overwhelmed me. It’s what Arthur Gordon summed up so well in his lovely book, A Touch of Wonder: “In moments of discouragement, defeat, or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things, usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind—in fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved.”

There have been many other days when God has brought me peace with little, but important, treasures during the midst of a dark mood. But I’ve found that it’s up to me to recognize them, and to not let them float away before whispering, “Thanks.” Otherwise, I’ll have turned away a precious gift.

As Gordon says,” No man is so poor as not to have many of these small candles. When they are lighted, darkness goes away . . . and a touch of wonder remains.”

©2009, Dena Dyer

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