Thinking about work and smiles

If I am feeling scattered, might it help if I got one thing done, like writing one little blog post? I could just make it the Poem of the Week or the Quote of the Day or something like that.

Perhaps a quote about time, like this:

Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach. Barbara Crooker said that. It’s an interesting way of looking at it, but not really the way I myself feel.

Today I seem to be leaning more toward Oscar Wilde’s policy of I never put off till tomorrow what I can do the day after. 

Because I’m finding that Work expands to fill the time available for its completion, as anyone who has experienced Parkinson’s Law knows. (Switching to the Work theme now…)

If, as Bertrand Russell says, One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important, then I am showing no sign of a nervous breakdown. Thank God for that.

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs, said Henry Ford, and I know I DO believe that. Since my job description consists of about a thousand large and small tasks already, the small jobs I completed today must count for something. I made an important phone call, threw away lots of junk mail, figured out what to have for dinner and read some poems. Before that I walked two miles and thought a lot about some things I was reading while walking. I prayed a little, and did at least a hundred other little things. So how could I think I’m having a nonproductive day?

It’s probably because my list of tasks, which has gotten longer and longer as it also got buried while I was traveling and living in the Bright Reality of Pascha – Christ is risen! by the way – is just too daunting, not having been divided into enough small tasks that in turn could be assigned to more days.

He that despiseth small things will perish little by little, said Emerson. So I resolve to appreciate these little accomplishments, not to mention the huge things God does, such as, today He gave me life and breath and the ability to get out of bed.

I was talking on the phone to a friend who is very ill; she told me that some days she can’t walk very well. She also has trouble speaking. I was telling her about lying in the grass on the hilltop last week, and she started to cry out of compassion for people who don’t get to see the kind of beauty I was describing.

That reminded me of the movie I watched last night, about Mother Teresa, and how she emphasized the importance of love, and smiling. When destitute, crippled and dying people look into the smiling faces of the Sisters of Charity, they see a beautiful thing indeed, and feel the love. With all the kitschy smiley face stuff going around for decades now, it wasn’t until last night that I fully appreciated the power of a smile.

The smiles of the sisters in the movie were so obviously genuine, and flowing from the love of God, I couldn’t help laughing and crying all through the movie. A smile is another small thing I could accomplish today. My dear husband will be home soon, and I think I will give him one.

So, it has indeed helped me to write this blog post. As Henry Ford also said, Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.

9 thoughts on “Thinking about work and smiles

  1. I am not good with “to do” lists at all. When I make them they get longer and longer and quite ridiculous. If you wrote down every little thing and every big thing, you would say, “Wow!” You do a lot of interesting and generous things all the time. I like the Oscar Wilde quote best! I think it's interesting to examine our rhythms and search for patterns.


  2. There are so many ways to gird up our loins in the morning; and writing, the wonderful process you evidence of gathering up good words, encouragement, praise to God and the grace of the overarching purpose in one's life ~hidden in Christ who lives~ is here both memorable and helpful.

    Here is another quote for you.
    From a song of Tommy Emmanuel's called Haba na Haba:

    “And though I wander, lose my way along this path I've come, and when I stumble, I will walk these steps I've run, I will take them one by one…
    Haba na haba ( little by little) Haba na haba….


  3. Your smiles have always been a source of encouragement to me! And linking that to the rest of your post – encouragement often seems to consist of helping people focus on accomplishing the next tiny piece of a seemingly insurmountable task or experience.

    P.S. – I particularly like the Bertrand Russell quote. 🙂


  4. I hope you feel a little more pulled together. Loved all the quotes and I totally understand that scattered feeling. This time of year always seems to be especially busy and requiring a lot of me. Peace.


  5. Glad to see this post restored — I read it on my reader yesterday but couldn't find it on your blog (blogspot issues, I understand).

    Love all the quotes, especially the Emerson. I'll be working on SMILING today!


  6. I liked this post! Especially this quote, which reminds me of my son who says similar things: “I never put off till tomorrow what I can do the day after.” There's another quote I like that goes well with your post: ““Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault



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