Life is mostly made up of small events interspersed with the occasional drama. If that’s true, why is it we tend to give more attention to the more dramatic events of life?
The recent Olympics is a perfect example: watching the dramatic highs and lows of the athletes as they strive to honour their country with a medal only to be defeated by some unforeseen occurrence. Books and movies naturally need conflict in order to sell to the public. Newspaper headlines are designed to sell bad news to the masses; information about the recent Rob Ford controversy or fighting in the Ukraine. There’s no doubt about it, bad news draws us in with bated breath to see how things will unfold. But what about those small things I mentioned?
I recently spent a weekend with my daughter Mallory in Toronto. We shopped for household items at Ikea, went to the art gallery to see the Guggenheim Exhibit, cooked a delicious vegan dish of African Stew in the crock pot together, lay in bed at night and laughed over the Stats Canada blog, and talked about all the things we are both interested in.
It didn’t end there. On the train home I started a conversation with the man beside me who was visiting from Greece. Having spent a few years at boarding school in England, his English was very good and so we were able talked easily about his work in Foreign Affairs. I asked about his trip, which began in Montreal, Canada and would end in Michigan, USA visiting a friend, and his impressions of Canada and so on. Though I will never see this man again it was a pleasure to meet him and to learn about his country and his life.
It occurred to me when I got home that what made the weekend so great, was small things. Then I recalled all the other small things that make up the bulk of my life and give me pleasure: Sitting on the front porch reading on a warm summer night. Conversation with my family around the dinner table. Time spent with good friends. The list goes on.
There will be many challenges in our lives, things that must be faced whether we like it or not, but we must not allow ourselves fall victim to all that is negative all the time. It is during times of difficulty that we need to find pleasure in small things. This is what will keep us going and remind us why life is worth living.