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THE COMFORT OF SMALL THINGS
September 21, 2005
 
Let's see -- "Livid" or "Pink-a-Boo?" Today is a spiritual direction day -- "Livid" might put a strain on my directees. But I don't think I can take another day of "Pink-a-Boo." I end up painting my nails with "French Vanilla," which can look make me look dead in certain lights, but it should be okay today -- the sun is shining.

Such a small thing, the color of one's nails, when the world is such a mess. But we like to have small things we can fuss over and get just right, and we like it even more when the world's a mess. The Bishop of Nigeria just broke off relations with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Global warming is real and our government won't take it seriously, because to do so will injure short-term oil interests. We are far from a resolution in Iraq. North Korea just agreed to use its nuclear capability for peaceful purposes, virtually the same 1990s agreement upon which it reneged. China, which owns a huge percentage of our national debt, is going to garnish my grandchildren's wages before they even get jobs.

There's always "Peony." But it's way too bright.

Fussing over little things makes us feel a little less chaotic. Less blown about by the winds of things far beyond our control. Some small corner of the frightening world that I can get exactly right, some small quiet, unimportant corner. A silly thing, maybe, but there are times when its comfort far exceeds its weight.

I can't stay here, of course. Can't sit here and paint my nails all day. For better or for worse, the frightening world is my world -- I can't repair the Anglican Communion, but I have a little piece of it for which I am responsible, and I must go out there and see to it. The large, intractable things are all conglomerations of small things, local things, and today we can each do something about one or two of them, maybe.

And pray for those in whose hands the really big things rest. Pray especially for the one whose handling of these things angers you the most -- you both need this more than either of you know. More is afoot in the world than just our worries and doomed projects. A shimmering sphere of the love and prodigious energy of God envelopes us all, whether we feel it or not. We need to feel it. Take comfort in your silly task -- your nails, your alphabetizing, your rearranging of socks in your sock drawer -- and then leave it behind. Do what you can and then let it be. God rearranges things, too.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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