small stuff CELEBRATED
by Sharon Paprocki
Some years ago Richard Carlson wrote an inspired book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and It’s All Small Stuff). His message offered readers the chance to step into a less stressful more grace-filled view of our world by not getting worked up about the small stuff; the daily challenges of life. Carlson encouraged us to be open to going with the flow. There is no doubt that this is sound advice. Recently, a friend shared a story about her son and I found myself realizing that although it’s important not to sweat the small stuff it is just as amazing to appreciate the little things in life knowing that this is where we can experience God’s presence, love and joy.
Ryan is a young man that I have known for nearly 15 years. Ryan’s brother, Ben, and my son played basketball together beginning in elementary school. Ryan is Ben’s older brother and he has always been Ben’s biggest cheerleader. Ryan is autistic and throughout his life has faced many physical challenges. He currently lives at home with his parents, Sandy and Mark.
Predictability is important in Ryan’s life so you can imagine that babies are not on the top of his favorite things list. Sandy shared, “Babies cry, they can be messy and at church Ryan doesn’t like the “diaper isle” because babies don’t know how to use the bathroom.” Sandy noted that Ryan has never been interested in babies or had not touched a baby other than when Ben was one.
While at a church service, during which baptisms were to be held, Ryan and his parents were sitting just behind a little baby boy; maybe 2 months old. Ryan didn’t know that he wasn’t one of the babies to be baptized so he thought the baby was going to have to have water poured over his head. During the service Ryan had been listening to old Sunday School cassette tapes. During the sharing of Peace, Ryan leaned over towards the baby. Sandy admitted there was a moment of panic as she wasn’t sure what Ryan was going to do. As she watched, Ryan gently shook the infants hand and said, “You little light will shine.” The infant responded by giving Ryan a big smile. Sandy smiled and thought…”God can speak through anyone!”
This story reminded me not to sweat the small stuff and when the opportunity comes to celebrate it instead. May Ryan’s story bring a smile to your face, gratitude to your heart and be an invitation to you to let your light shine through this Thanksgiving holiday.