Luke 12: 6 & 7- 6 Aren't five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight. 7 Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!
When I was a child, I was small for my age. I was constantly asked if I was a year, sometimes even two years younger than my age. As with every child when you do not accurately guess that they are six and three quarters and they’re practically seven already how can you not TELL, it frustrated me regularly. But being small didn’t. Being small was my joy.
I loved that I had to climb on counters to open up cabinets. It meant that it was easier to swing on the uneven bars at gymnastics. It meant I could (and did) cartwheel everywhere and almost never ran into anything because I wasn’t too big. In fifth grade I was able with minimal effort to get out of the handcuffs they showed us in the D.A.R.E program on their smallest setting. They’ll never catch me, I thought, though I obeyed authority compulsively at that point. Trees were easy to climb, I could swing on a handful of willow branches without fear, and I made the smallest splashes when I dove into the pool during the summer.
I was obsessed with miniatures, with Polly Pockets, with small worlds that I got to imagine and create. My imagination did not consider little things to be a disadvantage. Another reason I adored it had to do with most of those who were bigger than me not using it to hurt me. Being small felt safe and I could curl up for a remarkable amount of time on my mother’s lap, wrapped up in her arms. When puberty and illness came, I mourned being of slightly above average height and certainly above average size. It was a legitimate identity change.
For many, feeling small is a hateful experience. To feel less than, or not enough. It feels like weakness. I understand that, and have been made to feel that way myself, many times. Despite that, feeling small feels safe to me. I spent a long time taking solace in the fact that God is bigger, the biggest in fact, and that my singular life has a purpose and a plan. I can’t say I always feel I live up to that purpose. After all, what’s one person, one life?
One person is everything. Jesus was one person (and, admittedly, a whole lot more). But big things like revolutions tend to start with small things, like one person or one idea. The people who had to meet and live and love for you to be where you are, right now, reading this and living a life that belongs only to you? That’s the opposite of small.
These days, as I’m someone who isn’t, I especially adore the moments when I feel small. When I’m part of a project and I get to take pride in something as a group. Times when my husband wraps me up in his arms, and I get to feel little and safe. When I’m caught up in worry, but able to pull myself out of it and take solace in the fact that God, who is so much bigger than me, is the one really in charge. Those are the moments where being small is still my joy.
Meal: grab a snack for this portion. Olives, or grapes, probably not both together (but it’s your call). Think of these small fruits and how Jesus also likely ate them. Here they are, in your life now, different than they would have been in ancient Israel, but still here. Small…but important none the less.
Music: I’ve listened to more versions of ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ than I can accurately remember as a person who grew up in the church. The version I go back to without fail is by Lauryn Hill & Tanya Blount. I can happily chalk that up to watching Sister Act 2 approximately one thousand times, along with the awe that comes from listening to their incredible voices together.
Here is where I’m going to cheat a little and also recommend ‘The Prophet’ by our own Common Year contributor Abby Rajasekhar. It’s a favorite album of mine, with this song focusing on how David as a young man felt that he was too small to be important.
Time: Think about something you can do today for someone else. It can be simple, it can even be easy. Find something small you can do to make someone around you feel loved and important. Take a moment to appreciate the little things and how lovely taking a moment can feel.
Prayer: Lord, you seek out the small. The children, the ones that society deems unimportant, the ones others pass by. Thank you for your unconditional love that you have for every single one of your children. For even when we feel that we fall through the cracks, you see and know us.