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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

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Random thoughts are rarely random. I’ve always heard that if a thought is negative or denigrating, it is probably generated by your censor – the negative part of your brain that works hard to undermine your confidence and bolster your insecurity, and is usually very good at its job.

If the thought is encouraging or explains something you’ve been questioning, it is most likely from a higher power.

As I was working in the garden and picking green beans, it was close to 100°, and I was perhaps gently perspiring, when suddenly a quote from Teddy Roosevelt crossed my mind, “Comparison is the thief of joy.“

I’ve heard it many times and never really troubled myself with it because I try hard not to compare myself to others and haven’t felt like I do it very often.

It’s been hard not to see comparisons this summer, though. Madi is hiking the Alps, and I’m mowing the lawn. She is paddle boarding in the pristine waters of Italy’s Lake Como, and I am teaching the same reading comprehension that I’ve taught for years and years. I’m so happy for her getting to have these experiences and to be honest that much travel would be brutal for someone who loves home as much as I do. Because of those reasons, I had not even realized that I had slipped into comparison mode until I noticed how happy I was picking my beans. I realize it doesn’t sound as glamorous as swimming in the Mediterranean, but it really makes me happy.

This morning I was at church, and part of our service is called Prayers of the People. This is when the pastor prays for those who are ill or suffering. Today she prayed for several people who had received devastating diagnoses recently, and time is no longer on their side. I was still reeling from the news when Andy continued her prayer, “I pray for those of us who have not gotten any of those kinds of news or words or diagnoses, but yet we have not lived, I mean, really lived.”

It stopped me in my tracks. Time is not always on our side. Are we making the most of each moment? So many times we go through the motions; we get into routines and switch to autopilot. We believe what the songs and the books and the movies tell us: that if we’re not doing monumental things, social media worthy things, we are doing nothing worthwhile. Those are the only moments in life that really count.

But it’s not an all or nothing proposition. We should strive to do big things certainly, but we should also marvel at the small things at all the other times.

As the Italian actress, Eleonora Duse, said, “If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” That’s really the best we can wish for, in the big and small things - that our souls are alive.

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Jul 10, 2023

Love this - I'm a little things kind of person!!

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