Incremental Change

by Cynthia Johnson on November 5, 2013

Most of us gauge life by the major changes and events that occur.  The crash of the stock market, a change in presidency, loss or gain of employment, marriage and divorce, birth and death; yet all of these events actually occur in tiny increments.  How often do we become frozen, remaining focused on the event or change itself, rather than accepting the change and also the results of that change regardless of whether you view that change as good or bad?

Every action exacts a change on something else.  No way around it.  I challenge you to find one thing, one action you can take, that keeps everything the same.   Every word you speak, every action you take, results in something else changing; your choice maybe pending on many things, but the action itself, either contributes a positive change or contributes to its demise.

What are you missing by ignoring the little things?  What are you choosing to focus on?  Are you glued to the news waiting for a social change?  Are you waiting for that apology from someone?  Are you waiting for someone to understand you?  Are you waiting for anything?   Don’t wait for someone else to do, what you can do now.  Respond to each and every moment.

Think back to any wonderful memory.  What is it that you remember? Do you remember the actual “wonderful thing” which may have been the back drop, but I bet it was not what you remember most, it was simply the setting.  I don’t remember what food I ate when I got to walk home for lunch when I was in first grade.  What I remember – is turning around just before I was walking back into the schoolyard and seeing my mother standing  waving me on, and the panging desire deep in my heart, that longed to remain with her.

I don’t particularly remember any of the toys I got from Santa Claus, but I do remember peering out my bedroom window one Christmas Eve as my older brother pointed up at the sky, whispering he just saw Santa’s sleigh, and believing I saw it too.

I don’t remember the doll when it came, but I can still see my grandmother sitting at our kitchen table, cutting out the back of a cereal box then watching her fill out the form, the blue ink and  her hand writing that looked like no one else’s; and the thrill that traveled through me because  it wasn’t  Christmas or my birthday, but, for love alone and that was big.

When my son was somewhere between the ages of four and five, he was making the difficult transition from being the only child to sharing my time with a new sister. A special memory started as a simple errand.  He and I would run out many evenings just the two of us, to the local convenience store to get milk.  I told him he was such a big boy now, he could go in and purchase the milk we needed all by himself.  The clerk would see us pull up and usually there was no other car in the lot.  Under my watchful eye I sat in the car as he proudly plopped the bulky gallon of milk on the counter, then reach deep into his pockets and hand over the crumpled bills.   The clerk smiled every time he walked through that door and watched him as intently as I, and as my little boy headed out of the store, the clerk would wave to me and wink.  I think it made his night as much as it did my sons.  He was much older when he shared with me – how much he loved those milk runs; when those two car doors shut we were in a world together, undivided by anything else and he became my only child again.

We get so caught up in what we perceive to be the big things.  But in fact every moment is big.    The present is a present.  Don’t miss any of it.  Does not mean every moment is going to be wonderful – and yet it may just be wonderful for someone else.  That bothersome errand you run might just make someone else’s day.  Life has a peculiar way of following you around, tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Hey remember me?”  Be sure you are paying close attention to everything you say and do, because I guarantee you someone else is.   You may be starring in someone else’s life, so make sure you show up.   They say life is not a dress rehearsal, are you rehearsing your lines? Are you waiting for a better part? This is it.  Make every second count, because life happens slowly, then all at once.


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