God of Small Things

10/29/2017 02:44:00 PM sendtheroths 0 Comments

“Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit and it is amazing the kind of things one could get used to …and some things come with their own punishments…” Arundhati Roy 

I finished a book earlier this year called “The God of Small Things,” I picked it up during one of my tours across the U.S., intrigued by its name. Contrary to the normal line of thought about how great God, the Universe, the Creator is—I felt particularly captivated by the fact that God is just as attracted to the small things (maybe even more) than He is to the great and big.  The book wasn’t a particularly easy read for me. It dragged on a bit, but I kept reading. I felt like there was a soul-truth running parallel to my pilgrimage somewhere hidden in the depressing narrative.

There was.

A story of a dysfunctional family living together during India’s threat of communist domination. The term family could be used loosely, since they were a group of people from random walks of life whose stories all somehow intermingle throughout their unfortunate experiences. They aren’t people who really chose to live together. Their circumstances put them together that way. None of them particularly content at all.

It was awkward.

You couldn’t say that love wasn’t in the midst of the family. But the author managed to inject this great sense of unease throughout the entire narrative. There was a constant air of things left unsaid—small nuances that kept the story and its characters cold and disconnected from each other. The family didn’t lack food; they didn’t have it that bad in comparison to others during their time. But some things just weren’t quite right.

Eventually all these small things become the backdrop for tragedy that destroys everything.

That’s basically it in a nutshell. Pretty depressing. It even left me feeling a little bit immobilized, like, “Why did I just read that?”

Earlier this year I found myself in great awe of how God uses the small and insignificant to do great things on the earth. But now later in the year, the same truth has hit me in the opposite direction. The small and insignificant have terrible affects too.

Perhaps the greater revelation is that God uses our small and significant to shape this world. The small and insignificant shapes the very course of our lives. Our everyday decisions are our God. And our God will shape our destiny.

Waking up early in the morning for intentional meditation and solitude.
Putting the dishes away so that your spouse doesn’t have to do it for you.
Greeting people at work in the morning instead of moving quickly to your desk, clenching a (probably oversized) cup of coffee.
Choosing to stimulate your brain with exercise, rather than looking at how many likes you’ve gotten on your most recent social media post.

These small decisions actually form who you are and how people see you in this world. These small decisions create destiny. Small things matter. They matter because people don’t just ‘happen’ in life. There’s a story behind every person. Every small decision, word left unsaid, word said too abruptly, every time matter wins over mind—these are important parts of the narrative of an individual’s life. 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man [or woman] took and planted his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants and becomes a tree, so the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

But why are small things so hard?
It is easier to grasp a big picture and find all the great injustices in it, than it is to address small awkward things in life that just don’t seem quite right.

Some examples…

The cultural misunderstanding that I just “let go” of—because its easier to “live peacefully” than to actually talk about the thing that separates us and makes everyone feel uncomfortable.

The socially impaired person in the room that everyone runs away from because they are doing something so grossly ignorant that people around the are embarrassed for them—because its easier to ignore someone and hide from them, than to look them in the eyes and tell them… you smell bad, or your tie is too high, or other people see this about you and they are being driven away from you. Are you aware of that?

Seeing the cracks in communication or the hiccups in a plan and saying something about it—wisely and with care.

Talking to your spouse or family about the small things that create tension, but must be worked through in order to bring the relationship to a deeper level.

There is no surer sign of the wise than when they encounter ignorance and choose not to ridicule but to teach. Small things are hard, because there’s not a formula for them. A person just needs to be a practitioner, there’s no way to make you get out of bed and exercise, there’s no way to disguise your vulnerability if you’re going to have a transparent conversation, you just need to do it. You need to be a practitioner of your destiny.

 …because in the end, these are the trees that we plant for ourselves (ref. Matthew 13).